Girly Photo Scavenger Hunt (Fall)

Sorry, gents, but they say to write what you know, and I know glitter runs through my veins. Check back next time. Until then, ladies, this one’s for you. I have spent months scraping the dregs of my brain (okay, okay: I may have scoured Pinterest) for the very best autumn weekend outing while the weather holds. If you can, grab a girlfriend and head out to capture as many of the following seasonal shots as you can.

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Grace in Social Media

Most people collect things. I gather inspiring quotes and spread them around my space to wave hello as old friends do when I’m bored. Or tired. Or sad. Or just 100% done. One such companion, originally included in a play by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, is “The pen is mightier than the sword.” As a particularly uncoordinated being, I adore the fact that the power wielded through my mind can be just as potent as—if not more so than—the power wielded by my physical prowess. You should like this fact, too, because the thought of me slinging a sword around is so far from graceful. (If I ever took up fencing, I would entitle that period of my life “99 trips to the E.R.”)

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Scary Big Dreams

Remember when you were little, how your dreams of what you would become when you grew up were so big? Astronauts, ballerinas, presidents: kids are encouraged to dream big about their futures, to pursue their goals with gusto.

But somewhere between “I want to be a movie star!” and a 401k, we lose something of the magic. We tame our desires, muzzle our dreams, and stuff what could be down into a more austere (adult) reality. Honestly, though, life is too short to settle for less than what God meant for you to experience. Sure, being a lab tech—or even a CEO—pays the bills, but what makes you come alive? What job wouldn’t feel like a job to you?

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The Slave Queen

She waited in the great hall, standing at the precipice between yesterday and tomorrow, savoring the glorious in-between. Joy-filled voices floated just past her from the feasting room beyond, anticipation buzzing bright. The young bride mused contentedly at the crown in her hands. The graceful circlet of gold had not always borne such a royal shape—nor had she, for that matter. Her thoughts meandered back through the years to the day He had found her in the slums.

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When Fall Has Fallen

Hello, October, with your delicious splashes of pumpkin spice and chilled cider, your bulky sweaters and tall boots and plaid wooly blankets. I’ve missed how your burnt leaves crunch underfoot. Bunches of new pencils are gathered as fresh autumn flowers, each being plucked and carried off to class. Flickering faces adorn twighlight porches, and the smell of bonfires tints the crisp air. Little ones come seeking sweets, bedtime blissfully postponed for one happy evening, while caffeinated parents follow in their wake, absorbing the last bit of warmth before the winter sneaks under their doors. Apples pile high. Birds cry southward. And the trees flaunt like giant red peacocks with every ounce of their strength.

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Thoughts on a Great Marriage

(My sweet friend Cassie Celestain interviewed me for her blog, True Agape, a few years back. She split the content into two entries—Loving One Another through Communication and Applying the Gospel to Marriage.)

How long you have been married, and how did you meet?

Riley and I have been married for five and a half years. We joke that we met through Hurricane Katrina. His dad took my high school youth group to do disaster relief work in New Orleans (I know—romantic, right?). During one of the devotions, he mentioned his son, who was going into ministry. A girlfriend nudged me and said he sounded cute. A few months after we got back from the trip, my friend told me she had found (read: stalked) this guy for me. She gave me his Facebook info, and so I shot him a message and said, “Your dad took us on a mission trip. Tell him thanks and hi.” (I found out later that his dad didn’t recognize my name until Riley said, “She says you called her Giggles.” Greeeaaaaat….) His dad said, “Oh, she’s a good girl!”

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The Beast Named Abandonment

Abandonment is defined as “being left completely and finally; forsaken utterly; deserted.” Stated in such cold, clinical terms, it can lack much feeling. But when those terms have skin on them, when they have gotten to know you down to the core of who you are, when they have drawn you into a place of vulnerable relationship with you, and then when they leave you completely and finally, utterly forsake you, and desert your heart, things change.

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A Plea for Planting Wives

Okay, here goes. I’ve unsuccessfully started this post four times now. So I’m dispensing with the flashy opening and just going with the un-pretty truth: as a church planting wife, I feel invisible. I am under constant spiritual attack, I have no idea what I’m doing, and no one around me is married to a church planter. I’d love to read up on the topic and learn how to master the art of being in this peculiar place—after all, there are thousands of us around the nation—but resources are shockingly rare. Now if you’re a church planter, you’ve got it made: monthly meetings, books out the wazoo, training events, conferences, articles, blogs, podcasts, you name it. Planting is sexy. But being married to a planter is not.*

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The Half-Lived Life

Choosing ice cream flavors was the worst when I was little. I could never make up my mind between chocolate or mint, so after working myself into a tiny internal tizzy, I’d ask if I could have some of both. Over the years, I learned that if you’re quiet and polite, you’re very seldom asked to make up your mind about anything. The proverbial fence became the most comfortable place in the world (though in reality it allows you to be an easy target for both sides). I’m not talking about keeping peace—I’m talking about living in a constant state of “eh.”

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