read below

Every life has a purpose. Every person
has a story. What's yours? This is a quiet place to read, and a safe place to share and see the significance of your story. Come on in. Get cozy. Relax and enjoy!


let's tell


Jennifer Camp and I have been virtual traveling partners for years now. Honestly, I don’t remember when we first crossed paths, but it feels like I’ve known her a lifetime. Jennifer is one of several soul sisters I’ve met online. I know it sounds cliche, but when we finally meet in real life, we’re going to pick back up like childhood friends who never missed a beat. That’s how much I adore this woman, this dear, kind, sweet soul.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I’m telling you about Jennifer on this most random of Tuesdays? Wonder no more! Jennifer’s new book, Breathing Eden, releases today! Happy Birthday, Breathing Eden! I’m honored to be on the launch team, and incredibly excited to share Jennifer’s book with you all.

Breathing Eden: Conversations with God on Light, Fresh Air, and New Things is beautiful. The fonts are aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. The spacing is thoughtful. There’s even a note from the publisher, which I thought was a unique personal touch. There’s white space, which is hard to come by in books for adults. And at the end of every story, there’s a place for women to sit and listen to God’s still small voice. Breathing Eden reflects Jennifer’s beautiful, richly nuanced heart.


“This book consists of our prayers to God and his answers. Forty women. Forty prayers. Forty women’s conversations with God.” – Breathing Eden 

Jennifer has a huge heart for women who are wounded and in need of encouragement. She also has an incredible gift of listening and discerning God’s voice amongst all the noise out there. Breathing Eden invites readers into 40 women’s raw stories inspired by real life. Then, like a desperately needed breath of fresh air, we read God’s perspective, God’s response to the women’s stories. After each story, there’s an opportunity to listen, think, trust and pray. Honestly, I don’t usually like books that try to engage me with reflections, prayers or exercises at the end of each section. But this book’s “Trust” and “Pray” sections were practical, helpful and encouraging.

Wondering what these 40 stories are all about? Think there’s no reason to read a whole book of women’s stories when there will probably only be one or two that resonate with you? Not so fast. Breathing Eden is brilliant in that SO MANY of the women’s stories resonated with me, not just one or two. I found myself in Lucy’s story, Kelsie’s story, Kate’s story, Lea’s story, Catherine’s story and Holly’s story. God’s whispers spoke to my heart through Cara’s story, Hannah’s story, Jacqueline’s story, Ruby’s story, Diane’s story and Shelby’s story. Add all of those up, and that’s a grand total of 12 stories that resonated deeply with my soul out of 40. Honestly? We’re all in this together, ladies. You’re never as alone as you think you are.


What are you facing today? What hurts? What’s broken? What healing and hope do you need in order to break through and break free as a beloved child of God? You’ll find yourself among the 40 women’s stories in Breathing Eden.

These are the stories I needed and found in Breathing Eden. Hope for a mom who’s uncertain. Promises for God’s perfect timing. A reminder of the girl I used to be. Stories untold. I’m never alone. Faith for when I cannot see. Trust in God’s plan. Love without strings. Forgiveness aplenty. Chains broken. Light and restoration. Freedom from darkness. Confidence to run. Yes, those are the stories that resonated with me. Those are the stories that spoke to my heart.

Thank you, Jennifer, for the beautiful gift this book is and will be to so many women around the world. May you be blessed in the giving, blessed in the sharing, blessed as you breathe a bit of Eden.

breathingedenIn honor of the release of Breathing Eden, I’m giving away TWO COPIES of Jennifer’s book today! All you need to do is complete the Rafflecopter below, and you’re entered to win! Winners will be selected randomly and will be notified via email.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jennifer square new blue backgroundToday, it’s an honor and delight to feature a guest post from Jennifer Camp. Jennifer and I met online and engage with one another online. But Jennifer’s more than a 1×1 avatar to me. She’s near and dear to my heart, a woman I call soul sister without hesitation, someone I can’t wait to meet in real life. How do I know this? Because Jennifer’s writing is deeply revealing of her heart. And I’m convinced Jennifer’s heart is a close match to mine.

Loop cover image amazon (1)Friends, it’s special day for Jennifer! Today her first book, Loop, is being released. Loop is a beautiful devotional written from the heart of God our Father, for His daughters. Loop is a must if you’ve ever longed to be known, to be heard, to be loved and accepted right where you are. Jennifer has been gifted with a love for words. And today, I’m believing the Spirit is ready, waiting to speak to us through Jennifer’s writing. Check out Loop, now available for purchase on Amazon, will you? It would be a perfect gift for a loved one, or maybe a fresh devotional is just what you need to ring in the new year.

Without further ado, I’ll let Jennifer’s beautiful words speak for themselves.


The hard way as the reward?

We didn’t know what we were getting into.

We wanted to go on a hike, the five of us. And when I heard there was a trail up the side of a mountain, something in me burned to go.

So we head up Brokeoff Mountain, one of four volcanoes broken off of much larger volcanoes thousands–if not millions–of years ago, in Lassen National Park. The trail begins ascending almost immediately, gradually, but more steeply than the kids are used to. And after just a mile in, seven-year-old Abby decides she doesn’t want to go anymore.

But we have just two and half more miles to the top, a round trip of only seven miles. I can’t imagine turning around so soon. Abby and her two brothers, Jackson and Oliver, know we are all going up.

Justin plans these camping trips for us multiple times a year. He likes researching and organizing the details of our family’s next outdoor adventure. But on this hike, he is equally open to turning around and continuing on (although it is important, for the sake of morale, to not yet tell this to the kids). The trail is difficult and steep. One child, and then another–when the bees begin buzzing around him and one finally bites him–is complaining.

Are we doing the right thing? Is it right to keep pushing on, to not give up, even though the way is hard?

More often, in moments like this, I find I don’t feel depleted. I feel challenged, motivated, encouraged even more to keep going.


Jackson asks me, in his sincere voice, why I like to hike up difficult trails like this–and why we encourage the kids to do it with us, as a family. I love this question. I love how it prompts me to think about the real motivation behind the sweat, the effort, the challenge of it all.

“You know, buddy, I feel like an easy answer would be for me to say for the view. Because whenever we go up to the top of these mountains we climb the view, of course, is amazing. And we see things God made that we would never experience with our own eyes, otherwise, in such an intimate way. But I think the biggest reason I love this is because of the experience of trying to get there. It takes effort. It isn’t easy. I have to push myself to keep going. It’s uncomfortable. And there is something about being outside and moving forward and being grateful all the while for God’s gift to me–legs and arms and strength–that keeps me wanting to press on, keep moving up. The reward may be the experience of the challenge itself. I love doing the hard work towards a reward I know is going to be worth all the effort–and more beautiful and appreciated because of the hard work to get to the top. And doing it together helps us get to places we might not have the courage to go on our own.”


I am good at saying ‘yes’ to the hard thing on hikes, in the outdoors, when I am surrounded by beauty, when I am with family and friends and not alone and can taste the reward of all the effort, so soon, so close. I have more trouble digging in, being grateful for the hard tasks God puts in front of me, asking me to trust Him in so many other areas of my life: writing, parenting, marriage, friendship. Even though He is with me, whispering encouragement to me, urging to keep walking, continue trusting Him and going on.

God tells us the race is going to be difficult, the road narrow, the way with Him challenging to traverse. And I don’t like to hear that truth sometimes. When the going gets tough in other areas of my life, beyond climbing a mountain with my family in a canvas of beauty, I complain with God, wondering why I have to work so hard, or doubt what I am doing is the right thing, only because the results of my efforts aren’t yet obvious. I get impatient for the reward now.

But we must wait. And keep climbing. And know He is with us, coaxing us onward, up that hill, whatever it looks like for us right now. And the scenery may not be so great. And our muscles may be aching and our heart beating fast and everything in us screams to turn around and head straight down the other way. But He is with us. He is. He does not leave us. He encourages us on. And perhaps, this, right here, the struggle, could be the reward we don’t have to wait for? Being with Him, in the tough places—right now?


Jennifer square new blue backgroundJennifer, co-founder of Gather Ministries, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write…but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. After leading and teaching women’s ministry groups at her home church for ten years, Jennifer wanted to create a smaller, more intimate group—a safe place for women to gather, be vulnerable, and encourage each other in the sharing and living out their life with Christ. You can read more about the group, called My Girls, here.

Her heart to encourage God’s girls, and her love for writing and story-telling, prompted the creation of her blog, You Are My Girls. Her newest adventure with God, Loop, was stirred by Jennifer’s desire for women to listen to God’s voice, to be reminded of the truth of who they are. You can also find Jennifer writing with her husband, Justin, at Holy, a blog about the redemptive mess of marriage.








Go is my one word for 2014, the word that guides everything I do.

I published a post titled “Go. Like It Matters. Go. Like It’s Your Life.” on January 6, 2014. I loved that post. So much so that I’ve kept it on the home page of my blog all these months. It’s linked to a graphic on my sidebar.

So why am I referring to a post I wrote back in January when it’s mid-August? Because there’s one part of that post that especially excited and moved me when I wrote it. For the past couple of months, I’ve been feeling the need to revisit those words.

“Go. tell them all the beautiful things they never knew about themselves.

Go. tell them what they really need to hear. Tell them you see them. Tell them you noticed. Tell them they’re loved. Tell them they’ve not been forgotten. Tell them they’ve been heard. Tell them they’re precious, worthy, irreplaceable. Tell them there’s a plan for their life. Ya, Go. Do that. And do it again.

Go. where little girls laugh. And big girls are free to laugh again. Go. Restore the little girl voice.

And don’t forget the vision. Go. Continue becoming the beautiful, old, wise woman.”

There’s something about those words that speak to me deeply. When I wrote that post, I knew what every word meant, and much of it is playing out in real time. But I’m believing those bolded words in particular hold the greatest meaning. Those words flowed out. Those words got my heart racing. Those words had power. Those words felt right. Those words gave me life, joy and peace. Those words felt like my future.

Seven and a half months into the year, I can say with confidence that those bolded words will carry with me into 2015 and beyond. I’m not even close to being finished with those words.

But there is something I feel called to do with a handful of those words right now.

Five words have been calling to me. They’re the five words that have stuck in my mind since I wrote them in January.

Restore the little girl voice.

I’ve wondered. Is there something in those words that’s not just for them, but for me, too?

So in late July, I began brainstorming an August series titled Restoring the Little Girl Voice.

In early August at my 20th high school reunion, I had the opportunity to visit my childhood friend’s home, the place I spent countless hours growing up. As I climbed the staircase into the treehouse we played in time and time again, as I sat in the corner of her basement eating pickles, reminiscing about the exact spot we played pin the tail on the donkey as kids, and as I sat at her dining room table eating breakfast quietly with my husband that Sunday morning, I was reminded that this restoring the little girl voice was good.

Last week I wrote that post about what a great honor it will be to join Compassion International on a sponsor tour to Dominican Republic and blog on behalf of children living in poverty. I recounted God’s working out His story in my life from the very start, from way back when. When I was still a little girl. I knew, yet again, this restoration of the little girl voice was a good, good thing.

And when Bonnie Gray suggested writing a letter to your little girl self in her new book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, I had confirmation I was on the right track. I needed to do this.

So here’s my plan. For the rest of August, as the Spirit leads, I’m going to be writing a series titled Restoring the Little Girl Voice. Today marks Part 1. I don’t know how many parts there will be. This is a write as needed series, which is totally unlike me. But I’m giving myself freedom to explore with no rushing, no expectations, no boundaries, no specific desired outcome other than restoration. At this point, I’m not sure what restoration will look like. But that sentence, restore the little girl voice, is calling for attention.

Maybe you’re still not sure what this is going to look like? Here are my thoughts…

I’ll be going through old photo albums from my childhood. Anything from birth to 17 years of age will be up for grabs. I’ll be looking for pictures that evoke some sort of strong emotion in me. If it feels like there’s something that needs to be healed, restored, or laid to rest, I’m going there. For each photograph, I’ll write a blog post, a letter to my childhood self. A letter telling that little girl all the things she needs to know, all the feelings she needs to feel, all the thoughts she needs to express, all the things she might want to consider to make life a little easier from there on out.

I’m fully aware that I could journal and make this a private exercise. I’m aware I might make some people a bit uncomfortable. Because I’ll be digging into my past, into my little girl self. I might reveal thoughts that most would keep private. I might dig a little deeper than I thought I would. I might uncover thoughts and feelings I never knew existed, thoughts and feelings I pushed down for years, thoughts and feelings I’ve battled to this day, even as an adult.

But I’ve thought this through. I’ll be wise and prudent. If this needs to go private at any time, I’ll make that happen.

I’m also aware that this exercise will be healing. And I’m aware that exercises like this, when made public, have the potential to bring about healing for others. That’s why I started this blog. To help you know you’re not alone. To help you see we’re all in this together. To help you find meaning in life. To help you discover the purpose of your life. So I’m willing to be vulnerable. For you. So you might bear witness to the bud of my life unfolding into full bloom. And in turn, that you might be inspired, that you might finally allow yourself to bloom. Because don’t we all need a little uncovering, a little unfolding of our best, most authentic selves?

So let’s do this. Now is the time. I’m setting out on an unknown journey to restore my little girl voice, and perhaps, along the way, you’ll be encouraged to restore your little girl voice. And hey, men, I haven’t forgotten you. Perhaps along the way, you’ll be encouraged to restore your little boy voice. It doesn’t sound as pretty, but it’ll work all the same.

Restoration, it’s a good thing.

So let’s restore.

Let’s begin.

Let’s begin again.

Let’s restore the little girl voice.

This is the trailer for Bonnie Gray’s new book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace. The book is incredibly soulful and healing. I recommend it heartily and without reservation for anyone who’s seeking white space, room to breathe. This video is peaceful, breathtakingly restorative to me. It’s a beautiful representation of the tone in which I’d like to write this series, Restoring the Little Girl Voice. Thank you, Bonnie, for your beauty and authenticity.








Inch by inch, he grew in your womb.

You nested and prepared days, weeks, months ahead.

You knew he was coming. You knew it was time.

Tiny and precious, he rested in your arms.

Your mama heart was overjoyed. This tiny bundle was yours, a gift bestowed upon you by God himself.

Time passed – minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years.

But his time to pass came far too soon.

Your baby boy was sick, his remaining days on earth, few.

Your heart filled with sorrow. The pain was consuming, overwhelming.

You pleaded with God in desperation. Take me, not him.

And why God, why?

In all that fear, in all that pain, a wave of peace miraculously surrounded your heart.

You surrendered.

You prayed.

“Okay, Lord, you can have him. But if he must die, I want it to be for something big. I want someone’s life to be changed forever.”

After all the pain, after all the sorrow, after all the last moments together, your baby went home. Up in the clouds he went, up a little higher.

You sat in the silence.

Your mama heart ached.

Your mama heart wept.

Your baby was gone. Your baby. was gone.

You gathered up all the pieces of your grieving mama heart, brought them to the only One who knows the true meaning of life, and asked…

How can a mama bear bare to live when her baby passed before her? How does a mama move on? Now what, God, now what?

He answers your prayers in the gentlest of ways. Take his life, mama bear, bring forth life from death. Enter in to others’ pain. Enter in to others’ joy. Speak of your son. Speak of his life. Speak. life.

That blanket of grief and pain’s been wrapped tightly around you, but you do what you’re called to do when you want your baby’s life to count for something big. You begin, oh so slowly, unraveling the threads until you find hope, until you find possibility, until you find the place where your son’s life, your son’s light, begins to shine through, again.

Because you’ve learned – that place where hope shines is holy, precious, sacred space.

So you bring forth life from death. You bring forth purpose from pain.

You honor your son’s life by sharing his story.

You honor your son’s life by letting everyone know – hope is within grasp, even in the midst of pain.

You honor the hope that sprung forth from his life by ensuring everyone understands – the purpose of your life will be revealed, even in your last days, even after your days on earth have passed.

You honor the brevity of his life by encouraging everyone to live more fully –  as if this minute, this hour, this day is your last.

After a while, truth becomes impossible to deny. Your baby boy made a mark. His life wasn’t for naught. His life was short, but your prayer had been answered. Your baby’s life counted for something, something big.

Perhaps your baby was an angel, sent for such a time as this.

And slowly, little by little, you begin to believe with all your mamma bear heart, that joy comes in the morning, even in the mourning.



*This post was written for mamas whose babies have gone before them, and is in honor of Laura Sobiech, who lost her 18-year-old son, Zach, one year ago in May 2013, after a four-year battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. When Zach found out he only had a short time to live, his mom suggested he write letters to loved ones he’d leave behind. But instead, Zach chose to use his love of music to write a farewell song, titled “Clouds.” As a result, Zach’s story spread worldwide. His song went viral, with more than 10 million hits on YouTube. In her memoir, Fly A Little Higher, due to release tomorrow, Zach’s mom, Laura Sobiech, shares her and her family’s journey with Zach, through cancer. Laura’s hope is to build awareness, help fight cancer, and to provide hope for people facing similar battles. The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund has raised $746,917.14 to date, and “supports leading-edge research to find out why children get this rare cancer, and to discover life-saving treatments.” To read more about Zach’s story and purchase Laura’s book, visit the website It’s a true honor and privilege to be a part of the Fly A Little Higher Blog Tour.

*This post is also part of a month-long series titled Motherhood Unraveled. To read more from this series, click here and read to the bottom where all the posts are listed and linked!

It’s a true honor to introduce you to Eva Piper, author of recently released A Walk Through The Dark. Eva is the wife of Don Piper who authored New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes In Heaven. In 1989, Don was in a significant head-on crash with an 18 wheeler. He was proclaimed dead on the scene, spent 90 minutes in heaven, and miraculously survived to share his account with millions worldwide.

Anyone who has experienced trauma knows it has a life-changing impact not just on the individual, but on family members as well. In her book, A Walk Through The Dark, Eva courageously shares her faith-filled journey as wife and caregiver following Don’s accident. Don had the privilege of spending 90 glorious minutes in heaven, but returned to find himself in excruciating pain, stuck in a hospital bed for months, and Eva was by his side every step of the way.

I read Don’s book, 90 Minutes In Heaven, and Eva’s book, A Walk Through The Dark, back to back, which I highly recommend as the books complement each other perfectly. One thing that struck me as I read each book was the powerful presence of a man named David Gentiles. David played a significant role in Don’s recovery after the accident, and was ultimately the one who convinced Don to share his story about heaven. I asked Eva to share more about David in this guest post, and consider it an absolute honor that she entrusted me with the sharing of this miraculous story today.

My husband had miraculously survived being hit head-on by an 18 wheeler on a rural Texas highway on January 18, 1989. It had taken 5 1/2 hours for him to finally arrive at Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston. His right kneecap was shattered, his left arm had been lying on the back seat, four inches of femur from his left leg had been ejected from his body and thrown out of the car never to be found.

Those injuries were catastrophic themselves but now 17 days later we faced an even more dangerous situation. Following what was suppose to be a minor surgery he developed double pneumonia. Due to the massive injuries to his legs there was no way to elevate him in order to provide the needed breathing treatments. Don got worse and worse each day. The ICU staff, his doctors, and I tried our best to get him to attempt to breathe.

I found myself begging, pleading, yelling at him “Breathe, breathe you have to breathe.” Each time he would respond, “Hurts too much.” By the third day doctors were talking about putting him on a respirator. They told me that once he was on that his chances of survival were slim. I couldn’t believe God had brought him through the accident, the long trip to Houston, an all night surgery just to have him die from pneumonia.

I was exhausted from being at the hospital non stop. I kept questioning myself “Why can’t I get through to him? Why won’t he listen to me about how important it is to try and breathe?” In complete despair I took my fears to God. I began to pray, asking for God to help me know what to say to Don. I begged Him to give me the right words. I claimed His promise never to leave me. In the midst of the prayer I realized God had a different plan from the one I was seeking. I raised my head, walked over to the phone and called Don’s closest friend.

David Gentiles was living in Austin about 160 miles away. When David picked up the phone I told him all that was going on with Don. Before I could even form the question asking him to come to the hospital, David said “I’m on my way.” I thanked him and hung up the phone. Instead of praying for Don I began to pray for David and his safe travel.

Three hours later I looked up to see David walking down the hall towards me. His strong embrace said more than any words he could have uttered. Since David was a minister he was allowed into the ICU to see Don. I didn’t go in with him so I didn’t hear their conversation in person. I do know Don told David he didn’t have it in him to fight to survive to which David replied, “That’s alright. You don’t have to do a thing. We are going to pray you through this. We are going to pray all night.”

True to his word David gathered a group of believers who began an all night prayer vigil for my husband. The following morning Don’s breathing had improved. His doctors were thrilled with his progress and began to make plans to move his healing process along. It would require 34 surgeries to repair the damage to Don’s legs and arm. But they would not have been possible if his breathing had not improved.

Throughout the ordeal of Don’s wreck and recovery I was shown over and over that God always answers prayer. He answered my prayer that night not as I had asked but in His bigger and better plan. Because I was led to call David, and because David called others who prayed many had the experience of seeing our prayers answered. I’m so very thankful I didn’t try to do things my way but instead followed God’s guidance. His way is always best.

David continued to be an important part of our lives. It was David who realized Don had experienced something while lying dead in that crushed car and through his patient questioning helped Don share his remarkable experience. It was David who convinced Don to share his story of seeing heaven. It was David who co-officiated with Don at our daughter Nicole’s wedding. It was David who served as president of the board of Don Piper Ministries. It was David who prayed for my mom when she suffered a stroke. It was David who Don would call to talk baseball, football, ministry, life. David brought much joy, happiness, and love to all who had the privilege of knowing him. We miss him terribly. At times we still want to pick up the phone and call him. There is a big hole in our heart but we know one day he’ll greet us in heaven with that same big smile and huge hug.

Eva Piper


Eva’s book, A Walk Through The Dark, is available for purchase through many outlets listed on her website Don’s book, 90 Minutes In Heaven, is available for purchase through Amazon and on his website Don Piper Ministries.


  1. Tom Baunsgard says:

    Susan and I have both read “90 Minutes In Heaven” and we are looking forward to reading Eva’s book!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.