Five Minute Friday: whisper

What a whirlwind of a week! A happy whirlwind: girls returned to preschool on Wednesday and my in-laws moved down to Virginia from New Jersey the same afternoon. I have to admit that I love routine AND I already love having family living locally. For the first time ever in our 8 years of marriage.

Now – for writing this Friday morning, five minutes on a given topic each week. No editing; just writing.


He has witnessed one of God’s most glorious mountaintop moments: fire coming down from heaven to consume an altar’s sacrifice, proving in the sight of hundreds of Baal worshipers that he is the True God. No wonder Elijah thought God would speak to him in thunder, or whirlwind. His was a big, glorious God who had stolen the headlines with his other “god”-defying powers. Now that Elijah was listening for God to speak to him, he was listening for BIG. 

But that’s now how God spoke. He was in a whisper. In the quiet. Elijah had to wait. To settle down his soul. To lean in close. For the God of the Big is also the God of the intimate. Who whispers to his people to let them know that he is close and to draw them closer to him. Whispering implies intimacy. It requires more intentional listening.

quietIn my bustling whirlwind, do I have time and space and quiet to listen? To lean in to God’s heart – to open up his word and listen to these words of life? Yes, he will meet me amidst the turmoil and the whirlwind, but what he truly delights in with his own? To draw them close and to whisper peace over their souls and into the crevices of our hearts that only he knows how to touch. 

What will he whisper? I don’t know. We don’t know what he said to Elijah. Just that it was in a whisper. And so quiet down and listen. He still speaks. But he won’t compete with the chaos. He waits for you to step away from it.


on my August bookshelf


Three books, all very different from each other. I’ll start with the devotional I’ve been reading for the past several months, Grace through the Ages. Not only is this written by my former counseling supervisor and colleague, Bill Smith, whom I respect and have learned from immensely, but in his typical way, he seamlessly connects Scripture (all of it, Old and New Testament) to my day-to-day heart struggles, doubts, fears, and hopes. Every day that I pick this book up to read a one page devotional thought, I am met with a glimpse into God’s heart for me: his desire to be in relationship with his people and the great lengths to which he goes to bridge the gap of my sin and folly. Here are a few nuggets for you to savor.

On suffering: 

Suffering burns away self-deception by making us aware of what we turn to apart from Jesus to make our lives work.

On communication:

He [God] made you in his image and when you properly fill your role, you will talk to others about how to live in his world, in the same way he’s spoken about it to you.

On community: 

The same grace that embraces me also calls me to share my life with people who are dramatically different from me and to live with them in small groups of people that look remarkably like that first one 2000 years ago.

Second is Susan Cain’s book, Quiet. I’ve mentioned it on here previously, and it’s a dense book that will take some time to peruse. I was drawn to read it because I find myself both longing for quiet in a way I haven’t before (probably something to do with the constant noise involved in staying at home with twin toddlers), and I also find myself drawn to introversion as a way of re-energizing rather than big groups of people. I’m a mix of both, to be sure, but I am increasingly embracing my “inner nerd” whose ideal day would be spent in a quiet coffee shop reading a few really good books, and then writing about it. Thanks for providing me with an audience. 

The final book in my stack is along the lines of funny-parenting-real-memoir, Carry On, Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery. She is telling her story, and telling it in a brave, vulnerable way that invites me to do the same. And in a way that all of us can relate to. She begins by talking about what began this journey for her: opening up about her less-than-ideal past (that included addictions and jail) to a fellow mom while at a playdate on a playground. Now how’s that for inspiration to have different sorts of conversations the next time you gather with a friend? From her intro – an invitation to all of us –

The more I opened my heart to the folks in my circles, the more convinced I became that life is equal parts brutal and beautiful. And/Both. Life is brutiful. Like stars in a dark sky. Sharing life’s brutiful is what makes us feel less alone and afraid. The truth can’t be stuffed down with food or booze or exercise or work or cutting or shopping for long. Hiding from the truth causes its own unique pain, and it’s lonely pain. Life is hard — not because we’re doing it wrong, just because it’s hard. It’s okay to talk, write, paint, or cry about that. It helps.

9 things I learned in July

This is a fun link-up I’m enjoying on a monthly basis, from Emily Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky. Love her blog, her book, her link-ups. Love that she’s also a mom of twins and that I have some teeny tiny connection to her through her friendship with my BFF, Katherine.

Drumroll please? Here you are …

1. David Kirk and Daniel Kirk are two different author/illustrators of children’s books. David  is of the “Miss Spider’s Tea Party” fame; Daniel created “Sam the Library Mouse” series. Both series are favorite picks from the library for my girls (and for me to read – please, no more Dr. Seuss, can I get an “Amen?”).

2. I am really obsessed with lost things. Although I had already bought a replacement pair of Target Crocs for Lucia because we thought one of her pink ones was missing, when I found the “lost shoe,” I spent about 30 minutes searching everywhere for the original un-lost one. Alas, I had thrown it away already. This scenario repeats itself daily when we have (gasp) lost a lovey or a Lego piece or a doll outfit or … I wish I could say that there was something spiritual about my obsession, as per the Father who awaits the prodigal (lost) son, or the woman searching for her lost coin, or the shepherd searching out his lost sheep [seek Luke 15]. Usually I am more frustrated in my search for the lost thing than inspired by the value of what’s lost. I think it’s more about me wanting to be on top of life and have it in order than my passion to seek what’s lost.

3. If I’m starting something new I don’t mind leading (prefer it actually), but if I’m joining something that’s been in existence for a while I prefer to watch and observe before jumping in with both feet. Definitely seeing echoes of this tendency in one of my twins.

4. My cross-cultural experience helps me in counseling, friendships, and marriage because every relationship involves bridging the gap of individual cultures. For example, I learned in training and experience of a few summers overseas in Mexico and Ireland that it’s important to listen first before talking, to contextualize truth to the shape of that particular culture, and not to rush in too quickly with my own ideas.

5. There’s a local gym membership that includes a monthly parents’ night out for free! You better believe we joined it, and have already used this privilege once.

6. Proclivity to express yourself better in writing points to introverted tendencies. My personality finally explained – outgoing yet processes life best when writing. Thank you, my new favorite book, Quiet

7. I like to trash pick. My husband doesn’t. I’ll let you imagine how I found out that little tidbit. Let’s just say it involved a large dresser on the side of the street that I spotted next door to a friend’s house, and then asked [begged] him to return to pick it up in our car at 9:30pm. We don’t have the dresser. We still love each other and have our marriage. I will not trash pick in the future. Enough said.

8. is a self-publishing website. So perhaps my dream of publishing my own book doesn’t have to be so far off after all? Any writers out there want to give tips on how to get published v. self-publishing?

9. “Peacock” is a term that refers only to the male variety. A female f.k.a. “peacock” is actually a “pea-hen.” In the plural, they are “peafowl.” Thank you, Ann, for that enlightenment at the zoo this afternoon.