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  • Free Bonus Christmas Ornaments {Free Jesse Tree Ornaments}

    On Friday, September 13 th, 2013

      The Greatest Gift , written this spring, for your Christmas, to change your whole new year — change you.   “I’m a mom to three small children, so my focus during Advent tends to be on how I can make the season memorable for them, how I can teach them what it means that God became a baby to save the whole world. After I tuck them in at n...

  • The Secret that Shouldn’t be a Secret : For When You’ve Messed Up 1000 Things

    On Friday, August 30 th, 2013

    So…. we kept him a secret about till the end. Almost 2 decades ago now, we kept him a secret till I was almost 7 months pregnant. And Kathy Agnes leaned over just before prayer time at Bible Study and said knowingly, “Anything you’d like to share, Ann?” I was 20 years old and 9 months married and scared skittish silly about messing up another human being so I was i...

  • Why You Can Have the Most Hope the Day after Christmas

    On Wednesday, December 26 th, 2012

    I milked a sow on Christmas night and her white ran warm. It was after the packages for the neighbors were wrapped up and walked over across the snowy fields. After the baking and the eating and the gathering and the candles and the singing and the Scripture and the praying. After the feast for the coming of our Salvation. After the last of the relatives slipped home in the dar...

  • The Best Christmas Gift & the Miracle We Need

    On Monday, December 24 th, 2012

    It’s nearly that time of Eve. And the Farmer, he’s driving down the middle of an empty country road,  when he just flicks the headlights right off and the black isn’t black after all. “Look at it!” I whisper it. The bowl of milky moon’s spilling over snow sleeping fields. “You could drive the whole way home without the lights on.”...

  • How to Really Hold Jesus This Christmas

    On Thursday, December 20 th, 2012

    The girl, she hands me this two-inch Christmas tree. A Christmas tree made of salt-dough, painted and varnished. She gives it to me right at the beginning, right when we meet. The boughs of the tree in my palm, they are dough, cut and bent — these wee branches extended straight out. How in the world do you make a tree like that? How long  does it take to make a tree lik...

  • ‘Jesus is the Greatest Gift’ Christmas Gifts for Neighbors: Free Printable

    On Wednesday, December 19 th, 2012

    The kids have Adore Him playing and they’re singing along and off key. And the house wafts of sugar cookies and anticipation and names of neighbors to bless! “You done drawing now, Mama?” Kai’s leaning hard over my shoulder. “Can we just call it done?” And I’m thinking so, and we cut out this little hand drawn cookie ...

  • First Up: A Christmas Podcast over at Desiring God

    On Wednesday, December 19 th, 2012

    Because I’m with you, friend, wanting nothing more this year than this: Christmas is not something we wrap up, but a Person whom we unwrap... So! Let’s do Just. That. — you & me both. Three posts today… yes, three because who can contain the comforting joy of Christmas? First up this morning: The grace-filled folks at Desiring God had me over for an...

  • The Truth about Sandy Hook: Where is God when Bad Things Happen?

    On Monday, December 17 th, 2012

    When the guy with the glasses and guitar stands at the front of the chapel, in the middle of Nowhere Country, and tells us all to stand, I’ve got no idea if I can. I don’t know if legs can hold a heart this heavy. I don’t know if anyone can stand straight in a fallen world and why don’t we all just fall on our skinned and bloodied knees? When grief is deepest, words ar...

  • What to do With a Broken Heart this Christmas

    On Friday, December 14 th, 2012

    That one doctor thought it was a bit of a miracle before they even cracked open the chest and cut a way at his heart. Because who in the world figures out you’ve got a tumor plugging up an entire cavernous heart chamber when you’re blithely driving kids to hockey on Tuesday night and fine-tuning a tractor engine on Thursday and sitting in the front pew on Sunday? Ma...

  • when it’s hard to believe in miracles this Christmas

    On Wednesday, December 12 th, 2012

    First, a new note for you right below that Hope doesn’t want you to miss? Second — today is my dearest mama’s birthday. She was born 12 minutes to 12. And today is 12. 12. 12. — the last repetitive date we’ll ever see. So! Slipping quiet away here to celebrate an only-one-day-ever-like-this with my only-one-ever-like-this beautiful mama… and...

  • What Your Christmas Needs to Really be Merry

    On Monday, December 10 th, 2012

    The Practice of the Pause And on a whirling world, in the middle of the blur, you just hold a pause — at the end of one smeared moment — and before the next, holding the moments right to their very end with the full length of all your attention, these lingering, weighted pauses, heavy with the full weight of His glory, pauses wedging   h o l y      w ...

  • The Best Way to do Christmas Cleaning

    On Friday, December 07 th, 2012

    Why it happened right then, when she turned toward the stack of dishes on the counters, the squash peeling and apple cores and crusted pots, she had no idea. No idea why it came right then, in the midst of kids and mess and loud, like a coming around: How when you are turned away from God, life turns ugly, but when you are turned toward God, life turns lovely. S...

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