what I'm learning about Lent

40 days of fasting and prayer leading up to the most remarkable days in the Christian faith, Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is Lent.

Because Easter is a moveable feast, so is Lent and the other holy days of Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday. This year, Lent is observed from March 6 – April 18. It’s not found in the Bible, but has been observed by followers of Christ for centuries as a spiritual discipline and remembrance.

 I’ve learned from some scholars that the 40 days imitates Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness before He began His public ministry. I’ve read that “like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter.” (Christianity Today)

Secular theories of Lent involve Fat Tuesday and giving up something for selfish reasons, selfish gain, or out of religious obligation.

From my findings, observing Lent is intentionally setting aside time to remember Christ's life and death and resurrection and to discipline oneself to fasting, prayer, and studying of the Scriptures.

I recently read that “if Lent is not about getting to know Jesus Christ better, it is a waste of time.”

Therefore, I don't feel pressured into observing Lent, but consider it an opportunity to know Christ more.

Anytime I make a goal or set out to do something, I’m also looking to the other side of the accomplishment or journey. Looking at Lent, I wonder, what will come of us after 40 days of fixing our gaze on Jesus and less on the things of this world as we deny self more than normal? What could happen as we develop a stronger discipline of prayer, or at the very least an awareness that we’ve given something up to gain more of Jesus?  (put this in the email to those who participate)

What if the gain is greater than the sacrifice? 

“No matter how deep you are now, wade in deeper still. Don’t worry about what’s going to get wet. Don’t stop at the point where you can keep your feet underneath you. Get swept away. What are you holding onto? What are your hesitations to living a more Spirit-led life of faith? What illusion of control are you clinging to? Go all in. Pray today that this fast will be just the beginning of a deeper relationship with God.” (21 day fast, You Version)


Here’s my story: 

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cookies and cocoa

the best gifts are experiences. the ones you can't wrap up or put a price tag on. well, maybe you can, but the value far outweighs the expense. 

years ago we crafted cookies and cocoa as a way for our family to give something tangible, yet profoundly intangible to our neighbors. literally the one on our right and the one on our left. i'm not a baker or a chef, but can stir a sweet cup of swiss miss and follow directions on any recipe. 

when the kids were in those snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug pajamas and when thomas the train was far superior to screen time, cookies and cocoa was born

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How will America gather for Thanksgiving this year?

How will America gather for Thanksgiving this year? How did America first gather? In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims gathered with the Massasoit Indians to celebrate the harvest. It wasn't anything purchased from the grocery store, but what was hunted and grown and greatly prepared after much sacrifice and hard work. It was a union of what had been taught and what has been learned. It was a friendship forged.

It was the white man who had come to America. It was the white man who was accustom to celebrating the bounty called a harvest festival. It was the local Native Americans who taught the white man how to plant and grow and reap in a new world. Together they gathered. It was the local Native Americans that made room. That welcomed. Like any relationship, I can only imagine the beauty and the mess that unfolded. To share the land. To learn from each other. To be patient. To let love win despite the differences or trials.

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what to do with Christmas cards


what do you do with Christmas cards?

nieces and nephews.

friends from far away.

college friends.

neighbors who just moved in.

their cards have come to you.

telling you their year in review.

what's to become of them

when you've oohed and aahed over how they've grown

and stand in awe of what the year has shown?


gather them up

and punch a hole

attach a book ring

and a label that reads "Christmas + YEAR."


now keep it somewhere visible as the new year begins

for now it's time to specifically pray for your family and friends.

wanting to create an environment where we talk to God just like we would a Father

the kids choose a card and their sweet prayers for you they offer.

when we pray for you, we often ask for God's wisdom,

that He would give you favor this year to come,

and that you would be brave to risk much for Him and His Kingdom.

so your Christmas cards become New Year's prayers!