5 Questions About…

Do you have a nickname?  It’s not a nickname exactly, but in our family, and with my close friends, I’m known as “Idea Woman”.

I’ve shared before that husband John says the first line of the 4 Spiritual Laws should really read: God loves you and LAURA has a wonderful plan for your life!


So, I’ll admit that there are people who see me coming with that “IDEA gleam” in my eye and are tempted to run away.

The other thing I’m accused of is grilling asking a lot of questions of people I meet.  Frankly, besides wanting to be a spy, I also want to be Katie Couric (and yes, look like her too).

All that to say, I’m really excited about an idea I had for a new blog series called “5 Questions About….”  I have so many incredibly talented friends that I thought, what if I send some of them 5 questions about different topics that they have great insights on?

So, one day weekly til l run out of friends or topics, we’ll be doing 5 Questions About… Leadership, Hospitality, Singleness, God’s plans, Mentoring, Risk, etc.  (I’ll alternate these with One Word posts.)

“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.” Werner Heisenberg

Everyone is an expert at something.  Who is someone with a gift or a skill you’d like to learn from?  Give them a call today and set up a time for coffee.  You might say, “I really admire your understanding of ________ and I’d love to learn from you.  Could we spend an hour together?”  Everyone likes to share their knowledge and experience!

There’s so much we can learn from each other!

Proverbs 23:12 says, Give yourselves to disciplined instruction; open your ears to tested knowledge.

What’s a topic you’d like to ask 5 questions about?  


Brave Knights, and a Trustworthy King (for young parents)

Not infrequently, husband John and I will be part of conversations with our daughters like the following one.  It’s about Maggie’s summer internship in Northern Uganda where the Lord’s Resistance Army has forced children to be soldiers.  She’ll be working with those who have been brutalized but have escaped…


The other day after he read this husband John asked me (rhetorically), “How does this keep HAPPENING??!”

Others also ask us this too (although it sounds more like: “How did you raise your daughters?”)  The primary answer is: “With a LOT of mistakes and loads of God’s GRACE.”

Both our daughters, and we, will continue to mess up as we try to follow Jesus, but we also trust that God will pick us up when we stumble,  Here’s what we tried to teach them as they were growing up… Continue reading

Carry-Ons and What You’re Reading

It’s Fearless Friday, but I don’t feel like writing about fear. 🙂   

John and I are leaving today for a couple of weeks in Zambia and Tanzania with our church and World Vision.  Not to be braggy, but we kind of pride ourselves on our ability to travel light.  We rarely check bags, but always use carry-ons.

The one place this proves problematic for me is with books.  Now when the Kindle came out I was thrilled because I knew it would be a great resource, at least when we travel. Think of all the space we could save!  157 books in the size of less-than-one!  Never mind the fact that it takes me 39 days to read just one.  I’m an optimist.

John has adapted well to the Kindle and uses it all the time, but me?  Well, I’m too tactile, too visual, and maybe just too remedial.  I need to be able to flip back and forth, to review what I’ve read and quotes I’ve underlined.  I also have this weird thing about wanting my full sized Bible with me that has all my notes and dates and underlines.  I just seem to “know” it better than other Bibles.  We’re old friends.

Bottom line?  I just hate using the Kindle and only submit when absolutely necessary.

Which brings us to this trip.  I have so many books right now that I’m excited about reading!!  Here are a few that I’ve finished and some I’m looking forward to. Continue reading


Some sacred spaces are easier to recognize than others.  Some gifts are easier to accept than others.


It’s March in Minneapolis.  The cruelest month I think, although it vies with April.  In March we about despair that we’ll ever see any color other than white and gray again.  But then as we slog through the cinder/slush of March and April every once in awhile there’s a teaser.  A mini thaw, and you start to think maybe you’ve heard a birdsong or that your eyes aren’t deceiving you and maybe that’s a tiny bud there on the tree…but no, then it snows again and your hopes are buried just like your car under another monstrous white dump.


It’s been in this cruel month that we’ve been blessed to spend two whole weeks in Hawaii, one of them with our daughters – our last family vacation before Maggie gets married and everything changes.  And on top of everything this trip was a gift.  That’s right, a gift from some generous friends.  I’m embarrassed to say it out loud.


It’s a gift we don’t deserve.  We didn’t earn.  We didn’t ask for.  It’s lavish and over-the-top and we feel spoiled rotten.  And so for the first few days we were here all I felt was guilt. I thought, I shouldn’t let myself enjoy this.  I thought of many other people who work so hard and would love to be here too.

And then God whispered “Grace.”

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One More Gift…or Two

At our house the carols have been sung, candles lighted, cookies eaten, snuggling done by the fireplace.  The tree has been given multiple compliments so that it feels secure in its loveliness, and bags of festive crumpled wrapping paper and shiny bows carted out to the trash.

Yes, the gifts have been opened and oohed and aahed over, but there are a few more…A couple I didn’t get delivered to friends and tennis coaches, and Christmas cards still to mail.  Maggie’s fiance, Austin arrives today and his gifts are still waiting under the Christmas tree.

All this gifting focus has prompted me to think about several other gifts that are there every day, but may sit around un-given or unopened in the new year.

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A Conversation about Flour and Oil

Monday I wrote about how God has used the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarepath to teach me.  Did it sound like a piece of cake?

Not so much.

Here’s an honest conversation I had with the Lord recently.

Me: Lord, I’m ticked…really disappointed and discouraged.  I kind of want to throw my handful of flour back in your face and call it a day.

Honestly, Lord??  What I REALLY want is for You to take my flour and oil and make a ginormous fancy-shmancy cake worthy of the Cake Boss, that people will “ooh” and “aahh” over.

But instead it seems like my flour and oil concoction usually turns out looking more like an ordinary, boring tortilla.

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Steps, Stops, and Finding the Perfect Gift


We’re in that season.  You know, the celebration season.  Weddings, Graduations, Showers, Confirmations.  And in my family, a slew of birthdays.

That means trying to come up with great gifts ideas.  And I always struggle, because I want to find things that are meaningful, but also practical and, well, fun…

So with a bunch of graduations this week, I asked the experts (Katy and Maggie) what they and their friends thought were the very best graduation gifts.  They took a poll and got back to me.

The answer: Target gift cards.

Booooo-ring.  Practical, yes, but definitely not fun or meaningful.

Continue reading

How Fluent are You?

I like to say I’m multi-lingual.  I don’t speak Chinese, or even Spanish, but when it comes to love languages I’m fluent.  Or at least “fluid” as my husband would say.  And even then I’m afraid it’s often a one-sided conversation.  

You know the  5 love language idea that Gary Chapman popularized… How each of us have a primary way we feel most loved – through words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, or acts of service.  These are ways we express and interpret love.

The thing is I love them all.  I’m not picky.  I love receiving love in ALL these ways!

I came home the other day and my husband John had taken down both Christmas trees and TOTALLY cleaned out and reorganized our storage room.  I thought, “Boy, do I have an ear attuned to the love language of service!”  Best Christmas present EVER!!

I SO wish I had a “before” picture so you could appreciate the enormity of this gift!

It got me to thinking though…You know how when you know a little of a foreign language it’s easier to understand what people are saying than it is to actually speak the language?  That’s kind of how I feel.  I have a lot more receptive language than expressive language.

How does anyone become more fluent in a foreign language?  Practice, and spending time with those who speak it well, right?

What would happen if we practiced speaking the love language of those closest to us today?  What if we paid more attention to the people around us who speak “love” most fluently and learned from them?  Like learning in “Love Immersion School”.

How do you like to be loved?  What love language are you trying to become more fluent in speaking?  I’m going to try to work on the love language of service today.