How to Escape a Boring Life and Live a Better Story

In case you missed it, I’m officially a GiGi! I am just beside myself with joy, and I have no time to write because I am holding a sweet baby boy. So I asked my smart, fun, lovely friend Margaret Feinberg to help me out — she’s going to share with you on the blog today. She’s hung out with us before, and I know you love her as much as I do. 

But, girl, today, she is going to share with you how to not only live the life you long for, but write about it, too. I have met so many of you who say you want to write a book or a blog and my girl, Margaret, can help you do just that — in the most brilliant way. So, enjoy what she has to say and let me know what you think! 

___________________________________________________________________

My husband, Leif, is from Alaska. We spent the first five years of marriage living in his hometown of Sitka as well as the capital, Juneau. In each of these towns, cruise ships arrived throughout the summer.

On the busiest days, more than 20,000 people would disembark those ships and fill the tiny towns. The majority of visitors were in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. Many were barely able to walk. Some dragged an oxygen tank behind them.

I found myself welling with admiration for these feisty travelers. They fought hard to realize their lifelong dream of visiting Alaska. Way to be courageous. Way to overcome obstacles.

But the longer we stayed in Alaska, the more I heard these amazing visitors repeat the same story: They had lived their whole lives with a bucket list. Alaska was always in the top five things they wanted to do, but it never reached number one.

By the time they arrived, they physically couldn’t participate in the activities, tours, and hikes that reveal Alaska’s most splendid beauty. They couldn’t hike into the ice caves of Mendenhall glacier to see the mesmerizing sapphires of ancient winters’ beauty. They were unable to kayak along the shore with seals splashing alongside. They couldn’t hike the mountains’ crest to behold Alaska’s rugged coastline while munching on sweet wild salmonberries.

Why do I share that?

A Rational Guide to Valentine’s Day

My daughter-in-law Caroline is joining us for Java today! And even though I’ve posted this before, it’s too good not to share it again today. She’s talking about Valentine’s Day – the expectations and the reality. She’s a 20-something with a great perspective that will encourage and challenge you.


guest post by Caroline Rothschild

Today is Valentine’s Day. In the middle school world, it’s the day that roses are delivered to classrooms and kids walk around with giant teddy bears bought from the grocery store. In the adult world, it can easily move from being about chocolate to something far more complex; the day can too often become about feeling loved.

I wrote the post below about 4 years ago, and I find myself publishing it again each year because, somehow, it stays relevant. Regardless of age or stage of life or relationship status, the post stays relevant because it’s really not about Valentine’s Day; it’s about expectations. And, so often, our expectations are set so high that they are bound to let us down.

Valentine’s Day in elementary school rocked. Back then the only downside was creating the Valentine’s box. Every year I tried to make these outlandish boxes that inevitably failed, and then my dad would come to the rescue and do damage control on my box super-late the night before Valentine’s Day.

Want a Kinder Culture? Start with a Kinder You

Oh girl! I’ve been doing something you’ll love – it’s called the kindness challenge, and I learned it from Shaunti Feldhahn. She’s an author friend of mine who’s done a ton of research and has discovered how kindness can improve any relationship. I asked her to join us for coffee to tell us all about it. I just know you’re going to love it like I do.


guest post by Shaunti Feldhahn

Our culture has been taken over by millions of mean girls!

It’s not just girls, of course. Everyone with a heartbeat and an ability to type on Facebook seems to think social media sneers and political pettiness is the way to go.

And it has filtered into our personal relationships. How many of you have winced as someone spoke to their spouse in a tone they would never use with a friend? How many of you have seen friendships strained by political disagreements or trivial offenses?

How many of you have wished there was a way to solve this?

When “I Love You” is Just What You Need to Know

Lisa gets it. She’s felt it. She’s lived it. As a widow and single mom of 7, she knows the unmatched power of the words “I love you.” She shares with us today how those 3 words that have sustained her can bring the healing you are looking for. So, pour yourself a cup of java and let’s lean in to Lisa’s story. I just love it when friends join us for coffee! Okay, Lisa… our coffee is poured, our hearts are open… take it away!


guest post by Lisa Appelo

I received a frantic text from my daughter with the news.

We were stunned. Our dear friend’s young daughter had been admitted a week earlier to the hospital without any real alarm. The first uneventful night had turned into several critical days and nights and then suddenly, she began to spiral quickly, her organs shutting down one by one.

stocksnap_s20uk2drp0

Her family – siblings and parents now gathered around her hospital bed – held her in the shocking surreal of her last hours, as she passed from this life into eternity.

When I received my daughter’s  text with the news, I hurried from our Sunday evening church service straight to their home. Already, friends had begun to gather around this family.

Reducing Heart Clutter

My friend Alicia is joining us for Java today!  No coffee for her, though — her mug is filled with steaming hot tea!

Dr. Alicia Britt Chole is a speaker and author. Whether spoken or written, her messages hit you in both head and heart and are like grace-filled surgeries. She and her husband, Dr. Barry J. Chole, direct a prayer retreat home called Rivendell and parent their three children in the Ozarks of Missouri where the stars shine brightly and their dogs bark loudly.

I asked her to share with you — us — about how to declutter our hearts so we can start off this new year with more of Jesus and less of our issues! Okay? Okay!

To learn more about  my friend Alicia and her newest book, 40 Days of Decrease, visit www.aliciachole.com and www.40fasts.com.

javaimage15Jan2016

She Still Speaks

Oh, oh, oh have I got a treat for you?! Liz is in the house…or on the blog!

Liz Curtis Higgs is one of the funniest and wisest women I know and I am so happy to share her words with you today.

She gets us girls. She knows what it’s like to want to live well and wise and her insights have helped me do just that so I know she will help you too.

queenblog2

After you enjoy this blog, you’ll want to get even more Liz in her new book “It’s Good to Be Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba.” In fact, let me just give you one, okay? In the comments following the blog, tell me why you want to win the book and my peeps will randomly choose the book winner!


How to Stop Feeling Like a Leftover

My blog this week is a guest post from my friend, Leslie Black. Leslie is a single mom and young widow who inspires me like you won’t believe. I know she will inspire you with her words as well.


 

I was in church half-listening to a sermon on how to have a lasting marriage as the pastor said, “No leftovers.” He wasn’t implying we should never serve leftovers to our family.

He was making the point that we should not give our spouse whatever is “left over” at the end of the day.

Blog_February

But, that is not what I heard…

What to Do When Life Doesn’t Turn Out As Expected

My friend, Margaret Feinberg, has been in a gruesome fight with breast cancer. Though she has been thrown on one of the toughest battlefields of life, her response has been startling and challenging to me.

Blog_Guest_yellow (3)

You may be on a battlefield of your own, and you may be at your wit’s end, a weary warrior — trampled and discouraged. So, I asked Margaret to share a piece of her story with you to encourage and inspire you to keep on trusting. If you want to go deeper, check out her new book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, filmed with LifeWay. I have no doubt my wise and inspiring friend will give you the Biblical truth and companionship you need to fight any battle you face with tenacity and joy! 

I Need Jesus More Than Coffee

My daughter-in-law Caroline and I travel together, and when we’re in the airport, we’ll do about anything to make it to Starbucks during our layovers. As you can imagine, we can be quite the pair with all our luggage and coffee – not to mention the fact that I’m blind!

The other day she mentioned something that stood out to me. She said “I need Jesus more than coffee.” So simple, yet so true. She wrote this post when she was in graduate school last year, and I thought you all would love it.

I need Jesus

Waiting for my coffee to finish brewing made me late to class. I did a clumsy dance all the way there as I attempted to hold all my books along with the piping hot (and dangerous) cup of coffee; the price was darn high to get that cup of coffee into my 8 AM class.  

But, it was worth it. No doubt. I knew that if I didn’t have it, I’d stumble through the day, a cloud would hang low over my day.

Coffee starts my day; I offer it to friends when they come over. I treat myself to coffee when I study or simply when I want a treat.  I need it; I enjoy it. It’s a faithful friend.

But, I need Jesus more than coffee.

Today I Choose Contentment

I have a treat for you! My daughter-in-law Caroline is guest posting on my blog today. She’s talking about something I don’t think we talk about nearly enough – contentment in the age of social media. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in comparing our lives to others’ and seeing ours as less-than. Caroline will challenge and encourage you all in one!

Sometimes I stumble into wanting things.

The checkout line is long, and inevitably, I’m in line behind the coupon queen. I like watching extreme couponers on HGTV, but in real life – not so much.

 longline

As I stand there, I find myself staring at the checkout line aisle, and all the sudden, I venture off my shopping list. You know what I’m talking about; under the mints and the gum are all the items I forgot that I needed. Like, floss picks, hand sanitizer, and Tide-To-Go sticks. And while I’m at it, I find myself picking up a lint roller, even though I never lint roll anything. Ever. My moment of weakness peaks when I grab peanut m&ms.

Thankfully coupon diva takes so long I’m able to knock some sense into myself and put the “things I didn’t know I needed” back onto the shelf where they belong.

Those checkout lines are strategic. We all know this. We’ve seen many a tantrum as the child lusts after Fun Dip candy at eye level, only to be told a devastating no.

However, I’m starting to realize I stand in that checkout line a lot more than just at the grocery store.