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  To all those who have served this country: I can't begin to imagine the sacrifices you've made for me, someone you've never met. I don't know what it's like to leave a comfortable life for difficult training or to face your mortality on a daily basis. I don't know how it feels to say goodbye to your family and friends, prayerful but unsure of whether you'll ever see them again. I can't imagine the physical discomforts you've endured or the anxiety that's plagued your mind. I also don't know what it's like to readjust to civilian life after coming home, a head full of images you can never describe and a heart full of stories you can never really explain. And I cannot fathom, for the life of me, how it feels to be rejected, abandoned, and ignored by the countrymen you fought to keep free. Or what it's like to need care and rehabilitation but be denied those things. I don't know what it's like to be you. But I will not let my ignorance prevent my gratitude. You, sir and ma'am, are heroes in every sense of the word. You have forsaken yourself and put others first, risking all you value for all we value. You are selfless...


  Oh, God, the divide in our country has not caught you off guard. You are not surprised, and you are not powerless. Across this land, some people are hurting, protesting, and afraid. Others are jubilant, excited, and celebrating. The images on my television show people weeping, people burning effigies, and people blocking roads. Words on my social media show people taunting, people cursing, and people fighting. It is a hard time in this country, Lord, and I'm sure hard times are still ahead. My prayer today, God, is for those of us who profess your name. My prayer is for Christians - little Christs - to represent you in the hurt and to reflect your love to those who feel hated. My prayer is for your people to act like your people. Here, God, is what I ask: Let our words be few, and let them be filled with grace. Let us think before we say or type anything, aware words have power and cannot be unspoken. Help us consider the perspectives of those with whom we disagree, never belittling or dismissing the concerns they may have. Let us do all we can, in our little circles, to be people of love and people of mercy. ...


  Social media can be so annoying. (I realize this may sound hypocritical because many of you got to this post through social media channels, but of course, I wasn't referring to myself. I am never annoying. Just ask my husband. He loves it when I put my ice cold feet on his back or when I forget to close the garage door or buy food for meals. Nope - never annoying. Just rainbows and butterflies around here.) Do you agree, though, that social media can stress you out and just plain get on your nerves? Last weekend, I attended a conference where one of the speakers made a simple statement that liberated so many people listening. She gave us all permission to unfollow people on social media. I almost stood up and applauded, because I have been doing this a LOT lately (election, anyone?) and it has been so freeing. Most of us are "friends" with people we aren't really friends with, and daily we're subjected to posts reminding us why we're not really friends. I'm not talking about people we disagree with, necessarily. I have a lot of friends (in real and virtual life) I share vastly different views from, but I still follow...


  November is here, people, and I can hardly believe it. Maybe that's because it was 84 degrees yesterday and I had sweat running down my back as I walked from the parking lot to the car, but whatever. Stores have Christmas trees and carols are ringing, so the season is upon us. Before we get caught up in the end of the year rush, there are two things I want you to know today, both of which will benefit you. First, I have something to give you. If you don't know much of my story, the short version is that nearly 6 years ago, I went through an extremely painful time, one I wasn't sure I would make it through. My life was turned upside down, and for a very long time, pain was a constant companion. Slowly, I began to recover, and although it was the worst time of my life, it was also the period during which I learned the most about myself, God, and the purpose of pain. The gift I want to give you is a short e-book I've written called "Five Reasons to Embrace Painful Times." It's 18 pages full of the most important lessons I have learned about...