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Category Archives: Life & Faith

You Can Be Anywhere You Want to Be

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It was our 11th anniversary.

We had hardly any money, but we wanted to do something special. For our 10th we went to NYC and it was such fun. But this time around, we were going to have to stay local, no pizazz, just be together. And that was okay.

We ended up going out for breakfast, just the two of us, at a sweet little restaurant that serves the best homemade quiche (my favorite). We sat down in our own little world and sipped coffee and talked and took our time. Eventually, Jesse got up to get food from the buffet while I stayed back to enjoy my pretty little slice of heaven.

I smiled. Time to savor. Time to pretend. Time to imagine I’m in a cafe in Paris with my love.

I took a bite of my quiche and ate it slowly, relishing in each cheesy bit. Jesse sat across from me, his plate filled with eggs and bacon and toast and pancakes and all sorts of food from the delicious selection.

He started to talk and I asked him for a moment of silence. I wanted to really taste and savor my food. I closed my eyes. I am so dramatic. He loves me anyway. There is something about eating without talking that helps me fully engage with my food. This sounds weird, I know, but I don’t care. My quiche was wonderful and I wanted to enjoy it fully, because  I was pretending I was in a Parisian café, and I was eating a French quiche made fresh that morning.

We carried on our conversation, and had a delightful time. But every now and then, I would close my eyes…

I heard a chair move, and I opened my eyes.

Jesse was heading back to the buffet; I had stopped counting how many times he’d filled his plate.

Finally I said to my loving husband, “Listen, you have to tell me when you’re making your last stop at the buffet because that’s when I’m going to eat the crust.”

The crust, the best part.

As I finished up, I realized that right there, in that sweet little place with my best friend, I was wherever I wanted to be. I just had to close my eyes and imagine it. It didn’t matter if I was in a café in Paris or in Pennsylvania Dutch country thousands of miles away. The quiche was just as enjoyable because I made it so. And I was in good company, and the place faded away and the moment was there and it was just right.

Here’s what I know now: it doesn’t matter where you are; you can be anywhere you want to be in your mind. You can imagine it. You can enjoy it. This is not an escape, it’s choosing to be fully engaged with your life right where you are, with just a spritz of imagination.

I didn’t need Paris or the cafe; I needed the moment, the experience. And I had it, right where I was.

What are you longing for? Wake up your imagination and see how you can bring that longing, that dream, into your reality today in a small, but meaningful or fun way.

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our perspective.

Much love, SM

You can be anywhere you want to be...

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The Things We Get Stuck On


She asks the same question over and over and over again.

She’s been asking since she was five.

“If God is good, why did He let evil into the world? Why did He create Satan?”

We have listened to her and talked through this question several times over the years, but it keeps coming back. We have told her that while we can do our best to answer and understand the world around us and God and His Word and good and evil, there are some things we can’t fully understand or answer on this earth.

Heaven abounds with answers and enlightenment, but here, we stumble a bit in the dark still.

She nods as though she understands. But then a few months later, the question comes up again. She’s stuck on it. It’s a question she will have to wrestle out with God over the years.

We all have things we get stuck on, things we can’t wrap our minds around or understand, and it can drive us crazy, if we let it.

Read the rest at (in)courage today!

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Money Saving Mom’s Make Over Your Mornings Course AVAILABLE NOW!!!


With Crystal in Colorado

I am SO happy for my friend Crystal, A.K.A. Money Saving Mom! She has just released her first 14-day video course called, Make Over Your Mornings, and it is AMAZING. I got a sneak peek, and friends, it is so well done and practical and inspiring. You will love it.

Crystal and I started blogging around the same time, and as I have gotten to know her over the years, I have been so impressed with her generosity, humility, and willingness to work hard in everything she does, including helping others. She is such a light and I feel honored to call her a friend.

Her creating this much-needed course and selling it for RIDICULOUSLY cheap in order to help you is right in line with everything she stands for.

If you struggle getting it together in the mornings, and you would like some practical wisdom, solid advice, and encouragement so you can live your days to the fullest, you must check out this course.

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This 14-day course is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process.”


When you purchase the course, you will immediately get access to:

  • 14 high-quality videos
  • A behind-the-scenes peek into Crystal and her family’s everyday home and lives
  • A comprehensive workbook
  • Daily projects
  • Printable worksheets
  • Additional links and resources for each day

Here is the full discount schedule:

  • 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. ET on June 2, 2015 – just $5!!! {This is worth getting up early for!}
  • 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. – just $7!
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – only $10!
  • 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. – only $13!

 To get the course for only $17 (or learn more), just click HERE!


Love, SM

There are affiliate links in the post. Read my disclosure policy here!

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Staying Low, Being Above Reproach, and Believing the Best About Others


My in-laws, Susan and Gary. They are two of the wisest, humblest, above reproach people I know.

Three years ago I was in a fog of temptation.

I was having a hard time in my marriage, and I started flirting with another man. By the grace of God, and by what I believe was Him providing a way out of the temptation, my husband asked me if I ever thought about cheating on him.

I told him I had thought about it.

It was his question, that had arisen after reading the book, Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough, that led to us having one of the best, most honest conversations of our marriage. And after that conversation, it was as though I was shakin’ out of the fog. My eyes were opened and the temptation was gone. Light had pierced the dark.

But ya’ll, I could have fallen astonishingly.

“She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly…” Lamentations 1:9

Now another story…

About four years ago I was slandered by someone who believed things about me that were not true. Instead of talking to me about her misconceptions, she talked to others. There are people out there now who believe what she said and will always have a bad view of me. At the time this was going on, I was angry, and confused, and completely taken off guard. I tried to contact the person to clarify; no response. This was a fellow believer, and yet she would not talk to me about the offenses she believed I committed. I considered taking to my blog to defend myself. I’m sure I got a little passive aggressive on Twitter. I did write a general post about slander. But at the end of the day, after much prayer and wise counsel I decided to keep quiet and let the Lord be my defender. Nothing came of it and life moved on.

“Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.” Proverbs 20:22

Why am I telling you about these things? Because nearly every day I see the church being taken down in one form or another. I see leaders falling, and I see people accusing, and I see real offenses committed, and I see potential slander. But above all I see that there is a big target on the church, the people of God, by a real enemy who wants to take us down. And I know that sometimes we take ourselves down, because it almost happened to me. And I know that none of us gets a pass when it comes to temptation, and some of us have fallen astonishingly. I also know there are wicked people who do wicked things and call themselves Christians. If only there was no sin, so confusion, no falling, no hiding.

But there is something we can do. There are some things we can do. Here is a start…

Pray for Those in Leadership

I am sometimes guilty of pettiness, gossip, and jealousy. I see certain leaders, and instead of being for them, I take offense, I disagree on certain things, and I sometimes think and talk badly about them. Any choice morsel will do. But by the grace of God, no more. I will be for those who bear witness to Christ, especially those in leadership.

Together, we can pray for leaders and encourage them and believe the best about them. Let’s pray for them to stay low, to be humble, to be wise and to put that wisdom to action; and let’s pray that they will be delivered from temptation. We can pray that they will be encouraged daily to keep on, to keep their eyes on Him, and to live above reproach by faith, grace, humility, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Give the Benefit of the Doubt

When we read or hear something about someone, let’s not automatically believe it. Let’s do our research, ask the Lord for clarity and wisdom, and give the person the benefit of the doubt until we find out if they are guilty. Let’s not gossip. And when we do, because we have untamable tongues, let’s ask for forgivingness and begin again.

“Treat others the way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31

Be Above Reproach

The enemy wants to take us down.

As believers, and particularly those of us in leadership, we must be above reproach. We must be on guard, on alert, and walking with our eyes wide open. The enemy is just waiting for an opportunity to devour us. And devour he will, and in this inter-connected age, nearly nothing will be kept hidden.

Begin Again

I always say this, and I’ll say it a million more times: we can begin again.

So you messed up. Okay, get up, ask forgiveness, get low, and move forward. It will be a waste of your life to stay in shackles because of your sin. Repent. Start over. Live a quiet life if need be. But again and again He gives us mornings and mercy to begin new.

It is never too late to make your fall a fall to the knees.

And friends, pray for me? Pray for me to be humble and wise and to resist temptation and to be above reproach? I always want to stay low.

Love, SM

There are affiliate links in this post. Read my disclosure policy here.

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Slow and Steady


If I let my house go for a few days, it becomes overwhelming to clean. I look around at the piles and the papers and I purpose in my heart that I am going to become a minimalist and just throw everything away.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with my house and my to-do list, I think, “Slow and steady. One step at a time.” My friend Amy taught me that, and I’m learning…slow and steady. Pick that up. Put it away. Wash that dish, sweep, put on some music, fold clothes, do a little dance with my kids, keep on. Slow and steady.

And when my heart hurts and the waves of discouragement come full on, I have to slow and steady myself. Slow, seek Him in the still place. Steady, lean on the firm One. Slow and steady is how I make it through some days.

Whatever it is today, your home, your seemingly out-of-control child, your work, your marriage, your soul, think, “Slow and steady.

One step a time, one day at a time, slow and steady, you’ll make it.

Love, SM

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