I started a blog!
Cascading Life was an idea I held in my heart for decades. I’ve had this image of life overflowing out of the fullness of my relationship with Christ into the world around me. I’ve imagined writing, teaching, and serving for a very long time, but this year that idea began to take shape in the form of this little piece of the web. I am so grateful for the friends who encouraged and supported me in this project, and especially for the friend who encouraged me forget the noise and just write.
I attended some events.
IF: Gathering — On a snowy weekend last February a dozen friends gathered in my home to watch a live broadcast of this conference happening in Texas. We shared our lives, and this experience which brought encouragement and challenge. My hope was that this would not just be an annual event, but turn into something sustainable.
IF:Tables — We’ve had two If:Tables meeting ever sense the IF:Gathering. These groups of women have shared life and a meal, gotten to know one another and walked through some real life challenges. These groups continue to develop and grow over time. Each month we come together for a meal and a chance to talk about things that matter.
Q Conference in Boston — I’ve never been a fan of Christian conferences. They all too often feel like performance rather than real life. I found the Q Conference to be different. I sat for two days completely stunned by the way they spoke about difficult issues, the way they walked toward conflict with respect and honor, and the way they committed to live the Gospel. Rarely have I been so touched by an event.
Q Women in Nashville — Hot on the heels of the Q Conference, I signed up for Q Women. I asked a dozen women to join me, and 4 did. We flew to Nashville for a provocative and engaging conference which challenged us and gave me great hope for the future. We laughed, we talked (a lot), and we dug deep into each others lives to offer real support and comfort.
I read some books/blogs.
Jennifer Hatmaker— Interrupted was one of the most challenging books I’ve read in the past decade. She challenged me to rethink my relationship with the “American Dream,” and how I live out my calling both within the church, and within my community.
Ann Voscamp — Writing about the faces behind the conflicts in the middle east brought these stories into focus. I was devastated to see a glimpse behind the headlines of the horrors these folks have faced. My heart breaks for the devastation that happens to women and children in war.
Rachel Held Evens — Searching for Sundays this beautifully written memoir offered a glimpse into an internal conflict that I recognize in my own heart and the lives of my children. I was encouraged by her candor and the desire to be reconciled to a church that doesn’t always make that easy.
Timothy Keller — Prodigal God was one of the books our small group went through this year. The tale of two brothers often focuses on the prodigal, but Keller brings us back to the original telling and focuses his attention on the response of the older brother. This message of grace received, and grace challenged helps put the emphasis in the right place. This is a message we all need.
We supported some organizations.
Preemptive Love — this organization has taken the command to love your neighbor to the extreme as they commit to the rebuilding of Iraq. This small organization started as a way to help Iraqi children who needed heart surgery, but now has a broader and deeper reach for those in need.
The Legacy Collective — this organization is committed to building sustainable solutions to systemic social issues both at home and abroad.
I found some Blog spaces.
Grace Table— is focused on exploring hospitality and the community that is found around the table, both within our homes and beyond.
Mudroom — is focused on creating a space for the messier side of faith and life. Here there are posts about struggling with mental health issues, conflict, and the deep messes of the human heart.
Circling the Story — Monthly topics with guest writers who explore topics of faith, life, motherhood, marriage, and more
Some people made a difference to me.
Our Monday night group — this has not been an easy year for us, but our small group of humans have been a refuge during difficult times. Their friendship and encouragement have made all the difference to us. We’ve buried parents, shared birthdays, cried over disappointments and challenges, ate breakfast together, prayed together, and grown together… We’ve done life together. I am so grateful for their commitment to our community, our church, and our family.
The women who gather for If:Tables — these women have weathered some storms this year. Life has blown at our lives, our families, and our own sense of stability. We have prayed for one another through conflict and change,we’ve faced additions to our families and subtractions, and all the things that happen in our lives in a year. My life is richer because of all of you. Thank you for gathering to share life.
My coworkers — the men and women I work with everyday have been such a source of stability and strength. These folks come to work every day to make a difference for the folks in our community. I am proud to be a part of such an amazing group of people.
My husband and children — This man and these humans we’ve raised are a constant source of great material for my writing and great encouragement for my life. They never let me get away with anything, are always available to lend a helping hand, and make my life worth living. It’s not always easy, but it so completely worth it!