Books I Read in 2018 :: Special Edition Link-up

It's that time of the year! It's time to share a recap of the books I've read in the past 12 months. If you've created your own list, I invite you to share it either in the comments or by adding your list to the link-up using the blue button at the bottom of this post. I always love seeing what other people have been reading! Please note, the links in this post are affiliate links to Amazon. If you choose to click through and make a purchase I will receive a (very) small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support! >> PIN THIS << Click each title...


The Surprising Benefits of Losing Hope

“We’re out of options. There’s nothing left we can do.” We knew the day would come eventually—but that didn’t diminish the force of the blow. After four consecutive years of chemotherapy, my mom had run out of strains to try. Game over. I sat crumpled on one side of her queen-sized bed, my younger sister hunched over the other. Mom had put up one heck of a fight—but it wasn’t enough. At age 59, she had been defeated; the cancer had won. The bright lights on the final scoreboard taunted me in the silence of Mom’s bedroom that summer morning in 2011. I averted my eyes, searching for...


Advent Devotional Recommendations for You and Your Family

It can happen to all of us. Despite our best intentions, we can get sucked into the commercial rush of the holiday season, and before we know it, December's gone. We blink, and we miss it. This year, let's determine a different way. Let's pause before the month even begins, and take intentional steps to slow down. Let's get ourselves ready to notice and enjoy the true reason for the season. [Tweet "Need some suggestions for how to slow down this December? Read more here."] When I grew up, we had an Advent wreath just like this one from DaySpring: ORDER YOUR ADVENT WREATH HERE   What...


Scripture for Grief: How to Process Loss from a Biblical Perspective

If you're looking for encouragement from Scripture for grief processing, you're in the right place. I invited a friend from church to share the following post on how to deal with grief from a biblical perspective. I trust that it will be an encouragement to you.     Here's Ian:    A friend once shared that after losing her husband, she received much sympathy from family and friends, but soon she noticed a difference in the way people treated her. She said it seemed people were almost afraid to look her in the eye for fear that they’d see something of their own future in...


Our South African Marriage Proposal Story

Today would have been my mom's 67th birthday. She's been gone for seven years. And while it's a day laced with some sadness, it's also a memorable occasion because exactly 15 years ago today, my husband asked me to marry him. I wrote about it in my memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging.  (Affiliate links have been used in this post.) After people read the book, I've often heard from readers, "I wish the book came with pictures!" Others have commented, "I loved reading about your courtship, engagement, and wedding day!" This past July, I returned to the place where my...


Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin :: A Review

Legacy of Mercy is a historical novel by Christian fiction author Lynn Austin. It's the sequel to Waves of Mercy, a novel about the early history of the Dutch settlers to Holland, Michigan -- which happens to be my hometown! Please note: Affiliate links have been used in this post. If you choose to click through to Amazon to make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support! I so enjoyed the first book, Waves of Mercy, particularly as a current resident of Holland, Michigan. Not only was I fascinated to learn several true...


All the Colors We Will See :: Book Review

  I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time. It’s a collection of essays called All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way, by Patrice Gopo.     Disclosure: Affiliate links have been used in this post. Thanks in advance for your support!   I first met Patrice in Cape Town in 2007, shortly after my youngest was born. We shared a mutual friend, who introduced us while Patrice was in South Africa for ten weeks. As Patrice shared at my book launch reception earlier this year, back then we both assumed our paths had crossed...


On Being a Mom in South Africa {Book Excerpt}

My firstborn turned 13 today, so naturally I'm reflecting on the past thirteen years as her mom, her birth, and what it was like being a mom in South Africa for the first seven years of her life. Here's an excerpt from my memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging, to give you a taste of how motherhood changed me:    Becoming a mom in South Africa wrapped my identity tight around that far and foreign land. I became more than just a visiting volunteer missionary. I did more than marry a local. I spread my roots and brought forth life in the shade of that vast expanse....


Navigating the Many Phases of Grief :: Interview with Asheritah Ciuciu

If you've experienced loss, you're likely familiar with the many phases of grief that a person can go through. In my recent conversation author Asheritah Ciuciu, we chatted about some of those grief phases, how the Lord is present in the midst of each of them, and how He can use each stage of grief to refine us and grow us into His likeness. Watch the video here:    During our conversation, I confess some of my fears, my lack of acceptance of reality, my lack of trust in God's grace and ability to sustain me, and more. Asheritah asks me, "How has grief changed forms for you in the...


His Grace is Sufficient :: An Excerpt from A Place to Land

  It may not look like it on the surface, but the photograph below captures a sacred moment.     I wrote about this dear friend in my book, A Place to Land. When this photo was taken last week at our church in Cape Town, we hadn't seen each other for more than five years and she hadn't yet read about the impact her story has had on my life. When I went back and read the portion about her in my book after this picture was taken, I was struck by the significance of this moment. As you'll read below, I wrote about standing with my friend, my fellow motherless daughter. I wrote...


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