Introducing: Finding Holy Holidays!

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It’s easy to get wrapped up in the gifts, the activities, everything to make the Christmas special. We know we want our Advent and Christmas seasons to be times of meaning and hope, but we just feel busy. We don’t know what to do: maybe a new list, a new activity, a new Bible reading plan?

Sound familiar?

Enter Finding Holy Holidays.

Each Sunday during Advent (starting December 2), you’ll get a little email sent right to you to help you take back your holidays from the tyranny of the urgent. It will be small enough to read in one sitting and will give you one small step to take what you’ve read and practice it throughout the week.

Best of all, it’s my GIFT to you!

If you’re not already signed up on my email list, join now before Advent kicks off on December 2.


Join the Launch Team!

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Asking for help is hard -- though I think as I get older, it's getting easier (4 kids will do that for you!). But here's the thing: I need YOUR help getting my book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs, out into the world. 

Gone are the days where authors sent off their manuscript to a publisher and it magically appeared on bookshelves. Now there's 8 million books on Amazon and every new book is out there with every other book in the universe. But most of all, I need your help to get Finding Holy in the Suburbs out into the world because i desperately believe we need it. 

Finding Holy in the Suburbs is a book that says places form our loves in ways we might not even realize. I believe that we’re all searching to belong; we’re searching for the “good life,” and all places give us answers to those questions. The question for those of us in the suburbs is if we’re living what our places says is “good” or if we’re living what the kingdom of God says is good.

I'm inviting my readers to join me in launching my book into the world by joining the Launch Team!

You don't have to be an author, pastor, or someone with a large social media following. You just need to want to share the message of Finding Holy in the Suburbs with others. And, did I mention there will be prizes? Do you like free books and prizes? Who doesn't? The Launch Team will be fun and feel like a party. 

How to Apply for the Launch Team

It's simple. Fill out this application here! Don't worry about the social media numbers -- that's just to give our team a heads up about how best to launch this book. 

 

Benefits of Joining the Launch Team

* FREE digital copy of Finding Holy in the Suburbs to read right away!

* FREE copy of the paperback book weeks before it's released

* An invitation to join a just-for-us Facebook group where you'll hear from me, meet friends, and help process the content of the book

* The chance to win giveaways and prizes and even one-on-one coaching from me

 

Requirements of Joining the Launch Team

* You agree to show up and participate.

* You agree to write a review during the week the book launches on Amazon and other retail sites. 

* You agree to spread the word about the book on social media and in person with friends, family, and churches (don't worry, we'll give you all you need to easily do this!)

That's it! The God of the Bible is a generous giver and I can't wait to give you this message that's been brewing in my heart over the last several years. 

 

The Next Step

APPLY to join the Launch Team now!

Now is also a fabulous time to pre-order the book. You'll have one for you coming from my publisher and then you'll have one to give away. Pre-orders help distributors know to stock the book so they don't run out on launch day. And, when you pre-order Finding Holy in the Suburbs, we'll have some special things for you too. 

Hurry! Space is limited! The application will close in just a few days on September 9! We'll kick things off in our Facebook group on September 10! 

 

I cannot wait to get Finding Holy in the Suburbs into your hands. I can't wait to chat about how the book is changing you or your neighborhood. I'm giddy to see the book in your pictures and talk together about how God is a Father who runs to meet his wayward children -- even in the suburbs. 

 

 

Writing saved me from drowning, and other tales of creativity

But what of me? I was learning what it meant to be a body, but I’d lost my mind a bit in the process. After ten years, my PhD diploma that sat rolled up in a brown paper tube with Scottish postage on it. There was a beauty in pouring oneself out again and again in milk and blood. But something was missing and I wondered if it would ever return. Could I capture light and graceful sentences when I was covered in spit up for yet another year?
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I needed this book not only to save me from drowning, I needed it to also speak hope and life for neighborhoods like mine where other people spent their days drowning too. Neighborhoods that have become so inward-turned that we have lost compassion, kindness, and holy imagination for a world made new. I needed a God who would wake all of us from our torpor and give us life. So, I prayed for this book, for my place, and for my own self-absorbed heart.

Read the whole thing at Fathom Magazine. 

This year, I have a Valentine's Date with a Parking Lot

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This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine's Day. The day of candy hearts, overpriced roses, and a whole host of feelings emerge on the same day that the church calendar calls us to gather in community, to reckon with our mortality, and to repent.

It's just the sort of confluence that gets me thinking and writing.

Memory is a strange thing — the way it picks and chooses what to remember, how it distorts and puts the puzzle of real life back together in its own way. On one particular Valentine’s Day in high school, I remember feeling more woman than girl, with a fancy red top. I met my boyfriend (now husband) at the bottom of the stairs, his flowers and photo collage in hand. His jaw dropped. We’d been a couple for six months, which of course is a lifetime in high school romances.

That was what romantic love was then — demonstrative acts of adoration, feeling sexy, clinging to another person to save you. It was fancy dinners and longing.

Love was not yet what it could and would be. It was but a shadow of what Love is.

Love looks different now. This year, twenty Valentine’s Days past that one, I’m going to be spending it in the parking lot of our local elementary school because this year, Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday. Since our church plant meets at the local elementary school and we can’t get space to meet mid-week, we’re meeting in the parking lot.

As the wife of the pastor, I first asked (not very nicely), “What? For real? We’re meeting in the parking lot?”

Yet, I suppose it makes sense — and in a way that is about more than just scheduling. What other space is as mundane, as common, as the asphalt at a local elementary school?

...

So, I will line up behind a bedraggled group of suburbanites in the local elementary school parking lot, trying to wrangle our kids so we can bring all of who we are to be marked by the reminder we too often forget: we are but dust and to dust we shall return.

Read the whole piece here, at The Well.

How do we find holy in the land of suburban desires?

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I live in the suburbs. I am your suburban mom with a minivan full of kids, picking them up from school, doing errands, and taking them to sports practices. But I'm also uncomfortable with that reality. Because it's complicated knowing how to love Jesus and be his church in the suburbs when everything has a sheen of affluence.

It's why I'm writing my book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs, and it's why I'm writing about living in the land of desire. 

I'm grateful to The Gospel Coalition for publishing an article of mine today. Here's an excerpt:

When we told our donors we were leaving the campus ministry to plant a church in the southern California suburbs—land of affluence and megachurches—we not only lost several, we also heard the repeated question: Aren’t there enough churches there already?

I wondered too. Couldn’t we be more useful in an unreached part of the country? Or overseas?

We can subtly think that when Jesus said to “go to the ends of the earth” he meant only jungles and inner cities, not the affluent suburb next door. But all places—suburbs included—need the good news and abundant life found only in Jesus. And the good life isn’t the biggest house and the latest kitchen remodel.

In helping my husband plant Resurrection OC, I’m learning how the gospel saves us from our suburban desires for comfort and self-sufficiency, and replaces them with something much greater.

 

Click over here to read the whole thing.