Tell us a little bit about yourself and what God has called you to do? I’m a writer, speaker, and mama of six who is living the life I always thought I never wanted. Over a decade ago, I realized my perfectly planned life sounded great…but I’d somehow forgotten to consult God in any of it. I’d gotten so busy that I’d accidentally planned Him right out of it all. But after I opened my hands, releasing it back to Him and breathing a scared yet confident “Send me”…it all begun to change. I am now over-the-moon grateful that my plans didn’t reach fruition, because His are ever more exciting. As a mom of a big family (2 bio kids + 4 from Ethiopia), I live a life that’s been beautifully interrupted by Him. Much of my day includes caring for our family, but my other baby is my blog. In it, I share even more of my heart while encouraging women the importance of a life with Him at the center. I’m passionate about community and opening our doors, throwing beautifully (yet doable!) parties (while shopping my house), being content in what we have, and celebrating even the little things like learning to tie one’s shoes or saying the abc’s without mistake. I write about it all as often as I can.
Where do you live and have you lived anywhere else? Though I grew up mainly in Seattle, we moved to Guatemala during my junior high years. My time there opened my child-eyes to poverty and that real-life was not actually the little suburban bubble I lived in. During college I took a year off and went to Bible school in England, which helped me really grasp my faith as my own. We’ve moved around a bit through the years, but am happily settled in Denver, Colorado and hope it’s a long time ‘till God transitions us somewhere else. Come visit us!
How do you carve out time with God everyday? If you are holding a Weekly Planner you’ve already read my devotion titled “Firstfruits” on this very topic. For those that haven’t read it, here’s a small piece of it . . . I had no idea how hard consistency would be once children entered the picture. I remember collapsing onto the kitchen floor one afternoon, bursting into tears. As I sat there on the cold tile floor, I realized I needed to cling to Him tighter, or I wasn’t going to survive. As I sobbed there on the floor, my four precious preschool-aged children watching me, God gave me a single word: “firstfruits.” But what was I giving Him? The leftovers. The leftovers of my time, my energy, and my heart. I was in survival mode and He’d somehow gotten left behind in all the craziness and exhaustion that had become my life. I felt the Lord reminding me, urging me to give Him firstfruits of my time: specifically nap-time. Rather than scurrying around the house cleaning up, doing laundry, etc., I was called to FIRST sit and be with Him. Then AFTER do my tasks. And it changed everything. I don’t mean to say that life became sunny all the time, but it was suddenly manageable. My attitude was better, I had a full grasp on things. Jesus loved me back to life. As my time of intimacy increased, my whole being began to blossom.
What is your best organizational tip? Don’t tell anyone, but I’m secretly a hoarder. I have a big closet in our basement that’s chock full of party supplies and house décor. It’s a girl’s dream…and a husband’s nightmare, haha. Clear bins are a must so even when it’s labeled, I can quickly see what’s inside. Which means less time wasted looking for specific items like cute paper napkins or tassels! The same in Tupperware. I’m a big fan of an organized fridge, cleaning it out and scrubbing it down every two weeks. Our family has a love affair with leftovers, but I’ve noticed the ones we remember to eat are in clear containers. We’ve switched over to glass and there’s so much less wasted food!
What is your family’s favorite go-to easy meal? I’m a big fan of crockpot meals because I can throw things in at breakfast time and forget about it until we’re home from sports practice! Taco soup, buffalo chicken sandwiches, and street tacos are at the top of our favorites list.
Tell us your favorite God story (in your own life)? One afternoon, shortly after moving from San Antonio to Denver, I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone during naptime. Stopping on a fellow-adoptive mom’s post about a teenager named Abreham, I knew he was our son. We had recently brought home a baby and older boy (bookending our biological blondies) and were still in the middle of helping our new son through trauma and loss. God’s timing didn’t make sense! And a teenager?! What?! All day I cried and prayed, my heart breaking over this boy…my boy. Later that evening as I stirred dinner on the stove, Ben got home from work. Kissing me on the forehead, he said, “We need to talk.” I responded in a stream of words, gushing from my lips, “Is it about a boy in Ethiopia named Abreham? ‘Cuz I think he’s our son.” With eyes wide as saucers, Ben nodded his head. He had seen Abreham’s story on a different social media outlet that very same day and God spoke to his heart the same way He did mine. Abreham has been home with us for a little over three years now and just celebrated his 17th birthday. God’s just so fun.
What are your 3 favorite books, other than the Bible of course? I am a huge, huge reader and relish the term Book-Nerd. My list of favorites is longer than my arm, but some immediately coming to mind is Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine (really anything by her) and Jennie Allen’s debut book, Anything. My favorite all-time series is (which technically is three books itself), is Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers. I’m in the middle of writing my own book, which will be shopped out to publishing houses next month…so stay tuned for that, too!
What is your favorite Bible Verse? Like favorite books, I also have favorite verses that go on and on. But there are two passages I come back to time and time again. These are etched on my very heart (one is also soon-to-be penned on my wrist).
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
We are dying to know . . . if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Ohmygosh I feel like every question you ask me has more than one answer!! Since once again I cannot choose just one, I’ll go ahead and tell you them all: London, England, Rome, Italy or our children’s birth country of Ethiopia, where we have visited so many times, and yet not enough (either in the capitol Addis Ababa, or in one of the small villages nearby).