Once upon a 2014, I stumbled into the writing of Rachel Held Evans. She was one of the companions that I met along my path when I desperately needed the wisdom and friendship of others in a way that I couldn’t even put into words for my family. It was one of those rare situations where I was certain this stranger had been skimming my journals or somehow listening in on thoughts that weren’t even clear to me. She *got* me even more than I *got* myself.

I read “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” first. The title is catchy and there is some ‘funny’ to the book. What I loved most about this book was the intelligent scholarship that Rachel brought to the conversation. It was such a relief to not have ANOTHER book full of proof-texts and gender stereotypes and first century household codes.

Soon after, I read “Faith Unravelled” (previously called “Evolving in MonkeyTown”), which she wrote first. Again I was treated to intelligent, honest writing as Rachel shared about her faith journey. I loved this book so much that it became part of Caleb’s Bible class this year.

I was over the moon thrilled to be allowed to be part of the launch group for Rachel’s third book, “Searching for Sunday”. I have read and begun to re-read this continuing spiritual autobiography this winter.

Searching for Sunday” is a continuation of Rachel’s journey of faith with the Body of Christ through the grid of the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing the Sick, and Marriage. In each rite, she talks historical, academically, and personally about how these holy ancient demonstrations forms us and continues forming us into Who We are Called to Be individually and corporately.

Rachel’s gift is that she asks great questions without looking to pick a fight. She has strong (and I think right on) criticism’s of the Church, but never is there a question of how much she loves the Church.  She has a strong respect for her roots and much love for the Church of her childhood. Her writing oozes with compassion even in her questions and critiques.

In trying to write this blog-post, I have started about 29 other other blog posts. Some much too personal to share right now. I count running into Rachel Held Evan’s writing when I did as one of the kindest interventions God has ever orchestrated for me. I was almost ready to hang up my HopeHat and trade it in for a shawl of cynicism. I am so thankful for her questions, her honesty, and her courage to share her journey.

This is not a book that I can summarize in 500 words or less. Over the next week, I will be peppering my FB and twitter streams with some of the amazing quotes from the book. I may keep blogging about it and sharing some of the work other folks on the launch team has developed. Searching for Sunday is available tomorrow. If you like your answers, then I don’t recommend it. But if you are a pilgrim with more questions than answers  like me, then I think you will really enjoy this book.

Mixed Up Files…

The bonus of using a homeschool curriculum that is ‘Literature Heavy’ like Sonlight is that when the urge strikes and time allows for reading in one’s pajama’s for two hours on a particular morning, there are plenty of good books to choose from on our shelves.  I love my Kindle, but some occasions call for the smell and feel of paper. And this is how I met Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

I have never read The Mixed Up Files…. by ELKonigsburg. I’m so glad that Caleb will be reading sometime in the next couple months.

I made it to page 8 last night before the book hit me in the face. Offended at it’s forwardness I put it down in the dark for the night. I forgave and finished it this morning.

Here is a gem from the end of the story that I am going to chew on for many days.

Claudia said, “But, Mrs. Frankweiler, you should want to learn one new thing every day. We did even at the museum.”

“No,” I (Mrs. Frankweiler) answered, “I don’t agree with that. I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow.”


Dreaming is good for Marriages

“We have found that if we don’t dream about our lives 

then we are simply

swept along by the torrent of demands, feeling like hostages

rather than mature adults taking charge of our lives.

It is the simple reality of calendars.

You only have so many free days.

If you don’t grab these days and hold them for all they are worth,

they will vanish so fast it’ll give you whiplash.

So this is a really good question for marriage.

What are you looking forward to together?”


Love & War, John and Stasi Eldredge


During September and October, ‘strengthsfinder‘ kept crossing my radar with a creepy frequency. It might have been easier to blow it off if Living Your Strengths wasn’t sitting with a group of books on the top shelf of my small bedside bookshelf.

Yesterday, I made a commitment to myself (and some friends) to read at least fifteen minutes a day – not including my morning Quiet Time (and to write at least fifteen minutes a day). (And, yes, this post is in part killing two birds with one stone.)

So, as I wondered WHAT to read during my midday, it was kind of a no-brainer to pick this up. It was a no-brainer, but it was a lot of work. I don’t think it would be overstating it too much to say that I HATE tests and assessments like this. They give me so much anxiety.

The only one I had experienced before meeting Marc was the Myers Briggs (INFP/J – in case you care). But, Marc. Ohh Marc. He loves personality and gifts and skills assessments. LOVES them. So I have met a lot of them since I met him.

In his defense, he doesn’t make or ask me to take all of them. And he really tries to understand why these are so hard for me. And I don’t know why they are hard for me except that every time I get the results I feel disappointed. Which is pretty much not the point at all of these things. You are supposed to feel great about getting to know yourself better, have eureka moments, and a sense of liberation and clarity. I just feel stressed out and disappointed, usually.

So I began reading Living Your Strengths yesterday and finally submitted to the factthat I should probably take the assessment if the book was going to be all that helpful to me. The book came with a code, but I was pretty sure that Marc had used it for himself. I researched and found the cost.

Marc encouraged me to just try the code. And true enough, it had already been used. When I went to create an account so that I could buy the assessment – the site wouldn’t let me. ‘My username had already been used.’ I have a standard and fairly unique username that I use for these things – so I figured I would just try the ‘forgot my password’ and to see if an email found its way to my inbox.

It did. I created an account three years ago. AND I took the assessment three years ago. I TOTALLY cannot remember taking it, and I can’t think of why it would have been forgotten so easily. BUT, that’s the way it is. And it felt like a ‘get out of jail free’ card for me. And Marc could only grin because he thought he remembered me taking it but decided it was best to let me figure that out myself. (Smart man).

So my results, my top 5 themes:

  • Empathy
  • Connectedness
  • Adaptability
  • Strategic
  • Responsibility

What does that mean? Really, I have no idea. That’s why I’m reading the book. Maybe in reading the book, I’ll actually remember the results this time around.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

We recently had “The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers” by Amy Hollingsworth recommended to us. I picked it up through interlibrary loan and began reading it this morning. I am having a hard time to not just read the whole thing through in one sitting, it is so pleasant. But Mister Rogers never did hurry through things, so I think I’ll take my time with this book.

And I strongly recommend it for a good summer read.