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Category Archives: joy

How We Grow When Growing Is Just Plain Hard – A Guest Post by Helen Kerr

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How We Grow When Growing Is Just Plain Hard – A Guest Post by Helen Kerr

Please help me welcome Helen Kerr, my  English friend who lives in Scotland. Helen and I connected through Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love book launch team. Yes another FTL sister. There are many and I couldn’t be more grateful. This little red book has made some connections like none of us could have ever imagined. Helen lives in Scotland. Those who know me know my heart for travel and adventure. I hope to make it to Helen’s home for coffee one day but until then, I warmly welcome her heart here at EPFH. Sit down and have coffee with us as you read. (Be sure to go read more of Helen’s writings at Home-Spun Hearts.)

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Joy: The True Gift of Hospitality

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Joy: The True Gift of Hospitality

Tis the season for hospitality. Parties attended and parties hosted. Family gatherings here and there. As we welcome people into our homes here are some things I like to do to try to do to ensure they walk out of my home and back into theirs and take a little bit of joy along with them.

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EPFH’S FIRST GIVEAWAY!!! Enter to win Through Waters Deep by Erin Shafer

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EPFH’S FIRST GIVEAWAY!!! Enter to win Through Waters Deep by Erin Shafer

TODAY IS THE DAY!! I’ve been waiting for this day! I’ve had these 5 little books, SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR, in my hot little hands for weeks now just waiting to give them to 5 of you lovely readers. Yes, 5! Not just 1 of you, but 5 of you!

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Friday Five – HIGH FIVES!

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Today is FRIDAY!! That alone is a highlight for so many of us. They (Ann Voskamp & Jesus) tell us that the happiest people are the grateful people. That joy is found in the mundane. That peace is found in the chaos. That strength is found in weakness.

This post brought to you by happy, grateful, joy, peace and strength! All of which are very high five worthy!

1. HAPPY!!

Owen My Happy

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised that this is my #1 High Five. Our grandson IS definitely my happy! He has been spending the week with us. His mommy is here too which is the cherry on top!. We take as many naps and selfies together as possible. Everyone should get to be a grandparent. It’s just the best!


I have so much to be grateful for, but one thing that has risen to the top lately is a writing group I’m in. As a result of being on the launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (yes, this is a plug and you should preorder it before July 15th to get some cool freebies) there have been several groups spin off of the main launch team group. One of them is a writer’s group that I joined in on. There is so much wisdom, encouragement and selfless sharing of tools, tricks and tips in this group. I am so grateful to be on my writing journey with so many gifted and genuinely kind-hearted people who share the same passion of putting words together to form thoughts and inspiration.

3. JOY

joy 4th of july

All the kids came home for the holiday weekend. I can’t think of anything that would bring me more joy than for all of our kids to want to come home and to have them all in the same place for any amount of time. It’s also quite joyful that they can go to the store on their own and get all the supplies for S’mores.  I do miss them being little, but there are definite advantages and blessings to them being all grown up.


Peace Duck

I love our back yard. It’s so peaceful in the morning when the world is still sleeping and the ducks are waking up to begin their day. I generally always take my camera out with me when I take the dogs out and it never fails that there is something peaceful to capture through the eye of my lens. I mentioned in the intro that peace is found in the chaos. This is true but often we have to look very hard for it. It’s sure worth finding, though.


I started something this week. Something that is over my head, a major stretch to my skillset, something that has huge potential for success or disaster. I’m kind of counting on the success part. I’ve thought about this quote a lot lately. I have to try.

“The thing you never try, always fails.” Jon Acuff

So I’m trying. I’m going for it. I bought a domain! I also bought a website theme and did the big girl thing and paid someone else to install it for me. Now I just have to start gathering content. I’m in the process of creating a new website and facebook page that falls in line with a strength and passion of mine in the area of hospitality. But I also feel fairly weak in it all. Isn’t it true how our biggest strengths are also our biggest weaknesses? My vision is big for this project, but my technical knowledge is lacking. The thing is, is that where I am weak, someone else is strong and I’m hoping to use another of my strengths, making awesome cashew butter, to help me out in my shortcomings. Will trade techno skills for cashew butter. Anyone???

So you’ve made it to the end of this post and you’ve also made it to Friday! This deserves a big ol’ HIGH FIVE! Find someone to high five today. Even if it’s just for getting out of bed and being a person.

high five


Click on the cute blue frog to SHARE AND VIEW other HIGH FIVE posts! Link ups are fun!!

Thursday’s Truth – It Could Be Worse

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No matter how bad our day is, our month, our year, our life… it could be worse.


Over my years and through my personal struggles, God has always been faithful to give me perspective. Even if I didn’t ask for it. But most of the time I did. I don’t take pleasure in knowing that someone is worse off than me. Not at all and quite the contrary. It brings me comfort to know that someone has gone through “it” and is still surviving. Still putting one foot in front of the other and stumbling forward.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

No one ever promises us that we will not have trouble, that life will be easy. In fact, we are told that we will have trouble and life will be hard. Even if you aren’t a Believer unless you had ridiculously optimistic parents, we are raised to know that we will face adversity in life. And if you had great parents, you were taught how to work through those adversities. But often an adversity comes that we just weren’t taught how to navigate. Didn’t expect. Didn’t choose. Didn’t want. And it’s bigger than big. Bigger than life. Consuming.

We humans are quite resilient. Our hearts can take on so much and still keep ticking as long as we have hope. You know this to be true because you’ve lived it. I’m sure you have. If you’re reading this, your heart is still ticking and you know what hope looks like. Maybe a glimmer of hope, maybe a truck load but we all know hope. We all have. How resilient are we anyway? To answer that question, look around you today.

Have you ever seen the movie Date Night? The Fosters, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, and  are sitting at dinner playing “What’s the story?”, guessing the stories of those at tables around them. The problem with that is that they’re guessing. That has very little to do with perspective, but I use it as an illustration (maybe a bit lame but hey, I’m only on my first cuppa so just go with it) that we should take our eyes off of ourselves for a minute and look around. Look around and get involved with someone else’s story. Not their pretend story but their real story. Look around and get out of your own for just a few. Man, we can get so bogged down in our own muck, can’t we? All too often we can’t see beyond the end of our nose.

In my moments of being consumed by my adversities, some days God has put perspective right smack in my face but most days I have to pay attention and be looking for it. It could be the sweet face of one of our sponsor girls in Kenya. Talk about perspective. It could be having to strap my own kid into a full upper body prison of plastic and metal before bed while I go curl up in my comfortable bed to sleep. Perspective. It could be that couple who has walked through hell and back in their relationship or is walking through hell to get back but they made it or they aren’t giving up. That’s perspective. It could be knowing that right now, all over the world and right “down the street from me”, young women and girls are being forced to do things they probably didn’t choose to do with their lives and bodies. All the while I sit in my comfortable and air conditioned living room with our two dogs napping peacefully, sipping my coffee in peace and typing this up on my MacBook laptop with my feet propped up. Yeah, perspective. 

My problems just don’t seem so huge when perspective is in play. Not that my problems, your problems, aren’t problems. Not that they aren’t very real and not that they still don’t need to be dealt with, but our problems just aren’t so overwhelming and hopeless when we see them through the lens of perspective.

Be joyful in hope, patient in

How do we get to the place where we can be patient in affliction?

A big plate of perspective with a generous side of gratitude.

This is one of those times when I tell you that I’m not rockin’ the whole be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful bit. But can we lift each other up today? Offer each other a helping of our own perspectives? You pray for me and I’ll pray for you sort of deal? Can we lean into to the one who has promised us that He has overcome the world?

I sure HOPE so…


What is your perspective today? Please share in the comments. Let’s encourage one another.


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Moms’ Night Out… I really enjoy this movie. I’ve actually watched it several times. Yes, the movie is a bit over the top cheeseballs in parts but I found it very entertaining and refreshing. This clip makes me tear up every time I watch it.

Gosh, we’ll just never feel like we’re enough will we? So we strive…

I watched a live chat between CeCe Winans and Priscilla Shirer (both AMAZING women!) where I heard CeCe Winans say something like this,

“Our believing (in God) should be everything. When it’s not everything, we can’t have joy in anything. There aren’t many smiles. Nothing else will ever be enough. There will always be a striving.”

Wow. Like jaw dropping wow…

Most days I long for rest from the striving. Striving has sort of become a way of life. To strive to be a better Mom. To strive to be a better wife. To strive to be a better volunteer. To strive to write this better. To strive to keep a cleaner house. To strive to eat healthier. To strive to keep friendships from falling apart. To try to please my family. To strive to make a dinner every night. To strive to…. It’s what most of us do in all areas of our life. We’re really good at striving. Not so good at resting. What would I do with my self if I wasn’t striving for something. And if I’m honest with myself, I know I’m striving because I’m not resting in God first.

And that is not simple at all nor is it helpful to anyone I do life with. Mostly myself.


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 The Message