Category: friendship

I’m honored to be sharing my space today with Lindsay McPhail. Lindsay is a woman of passion and gumption. She has impacted my life by inspiring me to live my story unafraid, and to step out into the places the Lord is calling me. Lindsay is the real deal. She loves Jesus like it’s a fire in her bones and she is passionate about calling out the fearlessness in other women.

She started an event here locally for women, called Fight Night. I know what you’re thinking- that it sounds super badass- and it kind of is, actually. But it’s not some kind seedy, underground, Fight Club type deal if that’s what you were imagining. It’s women getting together and choosing to let their guard down, be real with each other and Jesus, and tell their stories.

Lindsay is funny and raw and real. She is the author of The Fearless Experiment: Living Outside The Lines, and she blogs over at The Fearless Experiment. Make sure and find her on Facebook and on Instagram as @fearlesslindsay.

I know you’ll find her words inspiring. Read More…

One of the best things about writing is that in a way, it forces you to expose yourself. Every time I hit ‘publish’ on an essay I am sending a little piece of myself out there into the cosmic void. Ever since I first watched You’ve Got Mail (roughly 437 viewings ago), I like to refer to the Internet “the cosmic void”. Meg Ryan makes it sound so much more magical, doesn’t she?

Sending pieces of myself out into the cosmic void can be scary. But without question, one of the biggest rewards to this kind of vulnerability has been the camaraderie that has come out of it.

New friendships and bonds have been forged because someone read my words and had a “me too” moment.

I have people in my life now that I would have never had the benefit of knowing, had I not taken this leap. Some of these are cyber-friendships with people whom I may never physically lay eyes on, but they are no less kindred spirits. They are friends, without question.

In the past I’ve spoken a lot about hospitality, and what that means to me. How I believe that it’s about not only making people feel welcome in my home, but in my life as well. It’s about making room.

I believe this with my whole heart, and I want to incorporate it in my writing as well. I think the whole reason I write, what really lies at the root of it, is a desire to relate and connect with other people. It has always been hardwired into me- that desire to chase down those “me too” moments. Whatever little corner of real estate I hold here in the cosmic void, I want to share that space with my fellow writers as well as some of my readers.

I will mostly be the one writing here, but on occasion I will also be opening this space up for someone else’s voice to be heard. In fact, next week I have some guest writers lined up and I’m so excited to share their stories with you here.

I hope you stay tuned and follow along, but I mostly hope you join the conversation!

image* This is Day 24 of a 31 Day series on Keeping It Real. You can find all of the posts in this series here I hope you follow along and join the conversation! *

A few months ago my best friend said it had been on her heart to start some kind of program in our community where people could come launder their clothes for free. We live in a small town with a large homeless population and an even larger poverty level. She did some digging and discovered Laundry Love, a movement that pairs with individuals, groups, and laundromats to care for the poor, the marginalized, and the vulnerable. Within a few weeks we were on a plane flying to LA for the first Laundry Love convention to gather information and learn how we could get started in our own community. Read More…

I’m afraid October is going to kill me dead.

We’re halfway through the month and this writing challenge to produce words on the page for 31 days straight. I’ve written some stuff I’m really proud of, and I’ve written some stuff that made me want to cringe and poke myself in the eye with the blunt end of a pencil. I knew when I signed on for this that every day wouldn’t be my best work, but if anything it’s an exercise in discipline.

I think everything I’m doing this month is about discipline, actually. Between the writing, the no-joke workout regime, the strict food plan, and the whole part where I’m a wife, mother, cook, and chaffeur too- is all either going to make me a way better version of myself or it’s just going to kill me dead. It really could go either way at this point.

This month we also have two trips out of town, three birthdays in the family, two big projects going, and exactly one day this that is reserved for relaxing. I have roughly 7 reminders in my phone each day to help me stay on track with everyone’s schedules.

A friend texted me yesterday, “Why are you ALWAYS so busy?! I miss you!” and it bummed me out. It’s true. I have kind of fallen off the grid a little bit this month. I don’t want to be off the grid. I’m very much an ON THE GRID type of person. Read More…

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but the Ambers kind of nailed it with The Roadtrip this year. You guys. We wound up visiting seven cities in four days with five children. I’m no mathematician but I’m pretty sure that all adds up to WHAT THE DEVIL.

I don’t feel like we were moving at a break-neck pace or that we were even operating on much of a schedule. Like I said, we played it pretty fast and loose in the planning department this year. It just kind of worked out that we were able to squeeze in quite a bit. Plus, it didn’t take us long to realize it was best to keep the troops moving along- because when five kids are tired and bored things can start to get dicey.

I intended to break this up into two posts but at the end of Day 2 I lost my internet connection at the hotel and lost my whole post along with it because it hadn’t saved correctly. Just envision some light cursing, a 5 minute denial stage, and lots of uselessly aggressive tapping of the keyboard and you get the idea. Since I am recapping the whole trip in one post I promise I shall do my best to be brief. (That’s a lie. Don’t you know me at all?)

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Dear Melanie,

(I was going to address you as Mrs. Shankle, but I doubted you would appreciate that. Plus, I just couldn’t bring myself to be so formal when I feel as if we are already kindred spirits.)

I was hesitant to write this letter, as I was concerned I would come across as (at best) too earnest, or (at worst) like a spastic-stalker-fan. For some reason it felt of utmost importance that I seem cool and portray the exact amount of enthusiasm that one would hope to find in a reader. Which is ridiculous really, because if you happen to be reading this letter, you are on my website, and one quick look around will prove that I have publicly lost all chill and embarrassed myself via the Internet many times. I don’t know why this always seems to be my way. What can I say. I am an open book.

In fact I have often felt much like YOUR open book.

Wait! That came out wrong.

Let’s start over.

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