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I love books.I love how word-magicians weave their words into sentences we've never seen and cause us to think what we've never thought before. I love to hold a book - made of paper and ink - and circle the phrases that punch me in the gut. I love to reread familiar stories and see what I missed before.I love books.Here are my thoughts on some I've read this summer.How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. If you work with children in any capacity, you must read this one. My favorite part was all about rats (which you might think are totally disconnected from human children other than the messes they make, but you would be wrong. Fascinating stuff). Two groups of baby rats (pups) were studied, and the astounding finding was that pups who were licked and groomed by adult rats after highly stressful events performed better on subsequent tests. "They were better at mazes. They were more social. They were more curious. They were less aggressive. They had more self-control. They were healthier. They lived longer" (30). The implication for humans is that nurturing in early childhood - regardless of whether it comes...


When you go to a writing conference, you don't expect God to give you a word about what's in your closet. But since He rarely does what I expect anyway, that's exactly what He did to me this weekend. While I was at the amazing She Speaks conference in Charlotte, NC, I had some time to kill between sessions and visited a booth displaying super cute jewelry and accessories. When I learned more about what was on display and the women who had created it, I wanted to cry. And buy everything I saw.The booth was set up by Fashion&Compassion, an organization that employs women in the United States and other countries who have faced what you and I probably cannot imagine. Women who were once trafficked for sex, women who are living with HIV, women whose husbands have abandoned them and who now must provide for their children in third-world countries. The artisans making the beautiful items are given hope and financial security because of Fashion&Compassion. As I was touching the pieces and seeing the beautiful faces of artisans standing near me, I was convicted to my core. I have a closet full of jewelry, accessories, and clothing, and...


I don't think I've ever been more excited about an app than I am for the First 5 app, and I want you to join me in its official launch tomorrow morning!Proverbs 31 is an incredible ministry that takes the word of God to people all over the world, and it has developed an app to wake you each morning with Scripture. You simply set your alarm within the app, and the first thing you'll see every morning is a short devotion. Before Facebook and Twitter can steal your thoughts and distract your heart, First 5 will take your thoughts directly to the One who made you and loves you. The devotions are designed to take 5 minutes and to be a manageable way to give God what Lysa Terkeurst calls your "Genesis thoughts" - those first thoughts that set the tone for the entire day. The First 5 website says, "We say we put God first...


2011.Mother's Day was coming, and I was dreading it. My first holiday as a single mom, my birthday, had been excruciating, but I dreaded this day even more. Mothers and fathers are a pair, but I wasn't part of a pair anymore. I was newly alone, very single, and still trying to figure out which way was up. My children were too young to think of or buy gifts, so I feared that the day would go unrecognized and I would be miserable. I knew it would be hard. Hard had become a way of life, and holidays were a type of hard I had never experienced before. Holidays were supposed to bring joy, but all they brought were real reminders of a reality I wished weren't mine.Mother's Day. I wanted to skip it.When the day came, though, it wasn't as bad as I imagined it might be, and the only reason it wasn't was my own mom. She made it better than it had to be. That's what moms do, isn't it? They make it better, whatever it is.My mom had taken my kids a few days before, giving me some very needed relief. Unbeknownst to me, she was...