Monthly Archives: January 2015

and the winner is . . .

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for Steel Will by Shilo Harris and Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga. I loved the titles you shared.

Our winner is Amiee Corbin!

Amiee, please contact me with your mailing address, and the books will be on their way to you.

Happy reading, friends!


book(s) giveaway!

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So so so many good books out there right now and more on the way! Right now, I’m loving Sue Monk Kidd’s Traveling with Pomegranates that Linsey gave me for Christmas and The Inner Voice of Love by Nouwen that Elyse texted me a timely excerpt from. I can’t wait to read Scary Close (the newest from Donald Miller) and Home is Where My People Are (the newest from Sophie Hudson) and Simply Tuesday (the newest from Emily Freeman) and The Art of Memoir (coming this fall from Mary Karr!!!).

Stories are some of the greatest companions I’ve known. A story can stay with us, comfort us, and keep our feet warm when nothing else can. Like a loyal old dog.

I want to tell you about two stories that have captured me recently: Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look by Emily T. Wierenga and Steel Will: My Journey Through Hell to Become the Man I Was Meant To Be by Shilo Harris. And, LUCKY DAY, I’m giving both of these memoirs away this week!

Steel Will is the story of Staff Sgt. (Ret) Shilo Harris who enlisted in the Army after 9/11. On his second deployment, he sustained catastrophic injuries when his vehicle was struck by an IED and, as a result, spent nearly three years in the burn unit of Brooke Army Medical Center. Harris’ story is about injury, recovery, trauma, post-traumatic stress, selfless love, and the internal journey of a man whose life was changed in every conceivable way.

I am particularly motivated to share this book because I believe so deeply in the importance of all of us rallying around our wounded warriors and making an effort to better understand trauma and the fall-out associated with trauma. I believe in supporting those who are bravely talking about their journey–emotionally, physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually–and how war has affected their lives and homes.

This book is not just for a military family. It’s a book for anyone who has experienced brokenness and who needs healing. I love what one endorser said on the back cover: Staff Sergeant Harris is “a soldier turned messenger.” That is so very beautiful to me. And I want to honor him and his wife Kathreyn for their heroism, their loss, and their battle. You will be touched by this story.

Additionally, I want to share Atlas Girl with you. Emily’s story is about brokenness and recovery, too. Perhaps these are the stories I’m drawn to these days. I am so inspired to read stories about people in a real and present struggle and how they find themselves, God, and their own path through. Atlas Girl is about a young woman who is struggling with debilitating anorexia, her faith, and her relationship with her parents. She sets out to find herself across the globe. And then, she is brought back home to care for her mother who is dying from brain cancer.

This book is written so beautifully, so passionately. It is a deeply personal look at where and to whom we belong. It is about a globe-trotting search that leads right back home. You will get lost in Emily’s world, and you will find yourself in her story.

I’m thrilled to be putting both these books in one of your mailboxes! In order to win, please leave a comment below sharing a book that has saved you. One winner will be chosen randomly to receive both books. I will choose and announce the winner on Wednesday morning, so please have all your comments submitted by Tuesday (tomorrow!) night. And feel free and share this giveaway with someone you know who might be encouraged by one or both of these books.

Love and stories,




Breathing Room Reader’s Guide

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If you’re reading Breathing Room and would like some prompts for reflection or discussion, I’ve got a little something for you! Here’s a Reader’s Guide for you to use personally or in a group. There are 3-4 questions per chapter, and they’re designed to help you connect more deeply with the book. I hope this is a useful resource for you or your group.

Happy reading!

Breathing Room Reader’s Guide


my only and best advice for the new year

For the last two years, I’ve shared this post at New Years. I am sharing it again because I believe in this truth now more than ever and because so many of you have told me how this idea of “beginning again” has changed you in some small or large way. If you’ve heard me talk about this a hundred times before, I hope this time it visits you with a fresh voice.

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If you commit to anything in this New Year, resolve to do this one thing. It’s the most profound sentiment/idea/discipline/practice I can think of. It’s a game-changer. It’s a new way to see it all.

Here it goes . . . are you listening? Pen poised?

In the words of St. Benedict, “Always, we begin again.” That’s it. Beginning again.

For many of us, this idea is not nearly sexy enough to be revolutionary. But, I assure you. It will change you. It will change your year. It will give you hope. We are not locked into our maniacal craziness. We are not bound to our small ways. We are actually, through the grace of God, free.

So we can stop. Our minds. Our mouths. Our hand-wringing. And we can decide to begin again . . .

In our marriages
In our parenting
In our sobriety
In our creating
In our forgiveness
In our attitude
In our thankfulness
In our meditation
In our anger management
In our health pursuits
In our time outdoors
In our desire to read more
In our hopes to cook a real meal every now and again.

If today, if this hour, if this year has not been what you had hoped, you can begin again. And, in fact, if today, if this hour, if this year was perfect. You still—must—begin again. We must wake up and choose to live in each minute, each day, each year. Moment by moment. Beginning again.

We must choose to love, to create, to breathe, to return, to quiet down, to believe. Over and over again.

So, if I can gently suggest, perhaps don’t bite off the entire year in one overly-ambitious, shame-inducing list. Perhaps, commit to one thing: Beginning again.

And let’s remind each other that none of us is too far gone in the same way that none of us has arrived. We’re all in this beginning again business together. And, we have his mercies-are-new-every-day broad grace. One of the most revolutionary things we can do is allow those around to begin again. And, of course, allow ourselves. None of this is easy.

So we blow it. We mess up big time. We numb out. We turn away. We choose contempt. We don’t show up. We vacate. We forget.

And then, we begin again. And again. And again.

God bless you, my dear friends. I love you so. I’m believing great things for this New Year. Most of all, I’m believing in a very small, great thing: that through his grace we can – yes we can! – begin again.

Believing (and keeping vigil for you),