Joy to the World

Daughter Katy in D.C. sent me this the other day and by the end I was grinning ear to ear and wanted to cheer along with the crowd.

I know it’s Fearless Friday and this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Fear except that it’s a fantastic uplifting reminder that there is still delight and good and “Joy to the world” because the Savior has come.

This happened at the Air and Space Museum and is the Air Force Band.  Who says nothing good comes out of Washington?  Enjoy!

I’ve always wanted to be in a flash mob!  If you’re planning one, count me in, but until then, this made me think of other ways I might brighten someone’s life today.  What can you think of?



It’s the day after Thanksgiving and if you are reading this, chances are you’ve resisted the urge to rise before dawn and scrape and claw through Walmart for the “best deals of the season”. (#walmartfights is trending on Twitter.)

You’ve said “no” to Black Friday, or perhaps you’re still just in a turkey coma and are calling it “contemplation”.  You’re reflecting on yesterday, or you still may be with family navigating dysfunctional dynamics feeling as tense as Jack Bauer defusing a bomb with 3 seconds left.

You may be with family members whose voices can strengthen you, reminding you of your inestimable value (like my mom, and basically everyone I’m related to does), or stab you in the back like the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones.


Last week I wrote about the power of words and the Word as we move into the holidays when there’s more emotion, more stress, more people, more…family.  So today, on Fearless Friday I thought I’d just post this video that’s a reminder of Whose voice is the most important to hear from.


The Words that Matter

Our friend Sharon always reminds us “Words matter!”

The truthful, timely word, the encouraging word, the destructive one.  They are all composing the story of our life.

Like a mess of Christmas lights though, we often get tangled up in the fearful words.  The “not enough”, “failing grade”, “grim prognosis”, “overwhelming odds” words. Continue reading

Two Memoirs

We got home from two weeks in Africa yesterday afternoon and are trying to stay awake and get back into a work-day rhythm.  John and I keep looking at each other and saying “What time is it?  What day is it?”  The good news is that with about 159 hours of flight time, there was lots of opportunity to get books read (even for a slug-slow reader like me).

Among the titles I tackled were two fantastic memoirs I’d highly recommend!  When we Were on Fire by Addie Zierman, and Table in the Darkness by Lee Wolfe Blum. Continue reading

Diving in on Fearless Friday

It’s Fearless Friday and I’m excited to share a post written by Carrie Gleeson, an awesome young leader who is developing disciples and mentoring student leaders on staff at our church.  I’m privileged to call her a friend!


What does it look like to be fearless?

Well in my mind that’s somehow always equated with the high dive at Shady Oak Beach. I’m not even sure if the high dive still exists, but for me, as a kid spending her summers on Minnesota lakes, that was the Mount Everest of feats.


Back in the day, there were 2 docks out in the deep of Shady Oak Lake (yes, it was that dramatic . . . for a 10 year old at least). Both docks stood about 20 feet above the water. One of the docks had a normal diving board. Perched on top of the 2nd dock was the high dive (insert scary, forbidding music here).. This diving board was another 10-15 feet in the air toppling over the surface of this cool Minnesota lake. Continue reading

Fearless Leaps and Little Steps

It’s Fearless Friday and we have a guest post.  I’m excited to let you hear from my intrepid, amazingly mature, thoughtful and articulate friend, Mackenzie Dykstra!  She’s a senior at Edina High School and is already shaking up her part of the world.  Enjoy!

The word fearlessness has the connotation of something extraordinary; where one battles impossible tasks with incredible courage and bravery.  When I think of fearlessness I see a soldier on the front lines, or a young child fighting against cancer that’s wracking her body. I see people that have great challenges to overcome and that are brilliant through their darkest moments. In this past year I have realized that fearlessness is represented by all those things but it can also be the smaller acts that are done in the shadows that require as much courage and delight God just the same.

To be fearless is to take a blind leap of faith. Continue reading

Fear, Seasons, and Your Legacy

It’s Fearless Friday, and I’m so excited to introduce another guest writer to you!  John and I have had the privilege of walking alongside Kari and Matt Norman for several (10??) years now.  They are a remarkable young couple who lead authentic, examined lives of faith in Jesus.  You’ll see that from Kari’s words today!


Last Wednesday my husband and I watched our twin boys climb up the school bus stairs, smile and wave through the window, and head off for their first day of kindergarten.  It was a marking moment, and one I’d envisioned in my mind’s eye many times.


I had been holding it together so well!  Until the day before… when despite best efforts, I cried at the parent teacher conference when asked if this was my first child entering kindergarten.  I said, “Yes, my first, and my second.”  Pause.  “And my last, all at once.”  Cue the tears.  The teacher reached across the table, held my hand, gave me a look that conveyed genuine care, as well as a nod that seemed to say, “You can hold it together.  Really, you can!  Um, please…  can you?”

She didn’t know that I’d had six miscarriages along the way.  Continue reading

Fearless Friday

It’s Fearless Friday and I’m thrilled to share a post with you from my favorite son-in-law who (as you’ll see) is wise and insightful and such a good writer!  Enjoy!


I remember life before fear sank in, but much like the story of Adam and Eve, the blissful beginning eventually falls apart.

The memories of the pre-fear life are like old home movies in my mind. If you can picture the opening reel from The Wonder Years or a scene from The Sandlot, it looks a lot like that. After the fear sets in, however, things begin to look much like I imagine they did in Eden that day: mankind full of shame and confusion, running around naked and frantic, grasping for the words that would make everything right again.


As a child, there’s not a whole lot to be afraid of. Like Benny, Smalls, Squints, and the gang, you can roam and explore and get in to trouble without much real consequence. You have an almost unlimited freedom underwritten by understanding adults who are giving you room to grow.

Then one day – and it happens to all of us – you wake up and realize the choices you make really do matter. Almost overnight, you’re standing there as a grown-up holding the bitten fruit of your decisions and reckoning with the consequences of your actions. As you look at yourself in the mirror, you start to realize that this whole growing up thing is going to take a lot more effort than you thought.

You might even stand there naked and ashamed, afraid of where you go next. Continue reading

Learning to Live Fearlessly (guest post)


Sarah Wineland (on the left, with her sister in this picture) is one of my delightfully brave friends.  Actually she was Maggie and Katy’s friend first, but they have generously shared her with me :)!  I asked her to guest post on this Fearless Friday.  Enjoy!

My first brave moment came when I was 13 at a summer camp.  We were whitewater rafting and had stopped at a large jumping rock. Being the timid, quiet child that I was, I didn’t want to jump. A counselor encouraged me to “just try it,” and the experience was exhilarating and indelibly life-changing.  I suddenly realized I couldn’t let fear keep me from experiencing a full life.  Life was meant to be lived vibrantly, and safety wasn’t necessarily the best route. I decided to live more daringly and face my fears head-on.   (Residual effects of this decision have included: eating various bugs, learning to be vulnerable, taking more chances, living in several countries, taking a job doing maintenance on septic tanks, climbing the Grand Teton, and leading worship.)

In my adult life, I haven’t always succeeded at living fearlessly.  I tend to be risk-averse and a people-pleaser, at times avoiding conflict.  Back in December, a friend of mine insisted that I watch this TED talk about vulnerability by Brene Brown, and it sparked something in my brain.  Like my summer camp experience, it reminded me that I live too fearfully, too timidly, in my approach to the world and other people. I needed to find strength to jump off of those proverbial rocks into the river.  So I determined that 2013 would be my year of living fearlessly.  I would aim to do something that scared me at least once a week, with the hope that fearlessness would become a lifestyle.

It started with the little things.   Continue reading

Fear, Small Things, and a Big God

One of the ways God reassures me is to say “do not despise the day of small things.”*  He uses the ordinary, and the overlooked, and the seemingly inconsequential.  And even the things He does with these can go overlooked.  Unnoticed.

I used to think that if it was “of God” it had to be big and bold and dramatic and flashy.  Like a super hero.  But then I learned that if he can use flour and oil, and widows, and dropouts, there’s hope for me.  I’m thankful for that, because my life is mostly a life of “small things”.

But lately I’ve been convicted that I’ve gone too far.  I’m settling for too little. I’m settling for a small god, instead of the real thing.   It’s not me who’s flashy and dramatic, but I can trust in God to do amazing things through me, beyond my ability.

Sometimes He wants to do big things.

Continue reading