This Gal’s Journey – How I Got Here And Where I’m Going


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Adrenaline coursed through my veins and my heart pounded in excitement as I read the professor’s notes on my assignment,

“Wow! Great use of detail and description. You should consider pursuing writing as your degree!”

The thought took my breath away and excited me. It also made me sad. I knew the chances of making a comfortable living as a writer were slim to none. So, I dismissed the idea altogether.

Even though I had had the same fleeting thought during a creative writing assignment in high school. And even though that one semester of creative writing I was required to take during my freshman year at university energized me more than any other class did, I convinced myself it wasn’t worth it to pursue a degree in English, writing or any of the other language or literary arts. Over the years I’ve wondered once or twice if I had missed my calling.

Having said all of that, I still believe I took the path I was meant to chart. I fully believe if God had wanted me to pursue full-time writing back then, He would have put it more strongly on my heart. I believe I was meant to spend the first three years of university studying exercise science; and I believe I was meant to change to an elementary education major during my junior year – a choice that is serving me well as I serve my family by homeschooling our children during this season of life.

I also believe that God was using those seemingly fleeting moments to plant the seed of a dream in my heart; to ignite a spark, small though it may have been, that He would later fan into a flame of passion for the written word. A deep love, and longing, to express my heart and soul on paper. A calling to encourage others with the same encouragement with which He has blessed me.

It is a dream that lay dormant for many years, drinking deep the waters of my soul and drawing strength from the journey upon which I needed to embark before it was ready to sprout.

The dream first began to shoot tiny, fragile seedlings when the idea for a story lodged itself in the recess of my mind in 2004 when we returned to America after studying abroad in Ireland for two years.

The tender shoots continued to grow in 2010 when I first learned of a new website that was looking for contributing writers. With a heart full of prayer and fingers shaking with fear, I applied and, to my shock and delight, I was accepted as a monthly contributor for The Better Mom. I started my own blog at the same time and those first tiny, fragile leaves unfurled a bit more in the unknown world of blogging and online writing.

Through all of this, I considered myself many things when it came to writing. I saw myself as a blogger, a contributor and scribbler of ideas in the stolen moments that come so few and far between in the life of a young mother with three children under the age of six. There was one title, however, which I revered so very highly that I was hesitant to use it to describe myself. I was afraid I wouldn’t do it justice because it is a title that deserves respect and honor, because with it comes great responsibility.

Over the past three years, as we’ve faced having to leave the home in Ireland we so dearly loved and then make a new home in Vienna, only to have to leave it as well, writing has had to take a back seat. The written word has given way for time to rest, pray, research, recover, relearn, navigate culture shock, navigate new language, and navigate reverse culture shock.

Now, however, I sense the Lord’s leading to once again put fingers to keys, words to paper. I sense Him re-awakening the dream. A dream I had feared was long gone and that would never return. Yet as the dream comes again with new branches, new ideas, and renewed calling, I’m taking time to consider what this space we’ve made here together should be. I’m also praying and mulling over what else He may be cultivating in me.


There are two projects in particular that burn so strongly in my heart and mind that I must pay them heed. These projects may pull me away from other projects more bloggy in nature for a time, but I don’t want to abandon this place – this home, this community – we’ve worked so hard to build here together over the past five years.

This is where you come in.

I’d love to have your input on what brought you to this place; and what keeps you here. What feeds your soul when you come here with your cuppa and your heart open? I’ve put together a short survey I’d really love and value if you took the time to take for me. It only has 5 questions and should only take a minute or two. Simply click here and answer the questions. Thank you!!

In the mean time, I’d like to introduce myself:

Hi. My name is Jennifer, and I am a writer.

A Season for Everything: Including Self-Grace


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When Moms are TenderHave you been running yourself ragged for too long, mom-friend? Have you been beating yourself up, berating your own tenancies and characteristics like a bootcamp sergeant? Are you feeling worn out, beat up and stomped on…mainly by your own doing?

Perhaps, like me, you’re in a season of needing to be tender with yourself, extending grace and engaging in practices and habits that renew, refresh and rebuild?

Join me over at The Better Mom today as I talk about what can happen When Moms Are Tender…With Themselves.

If you’ve just clicked over from The Better Mom, I’m so glad you’re here! Grab a cuppa, snuggle in and take a look around.

The Ache and Joy of the Wait {Rain for Roots Review + GIVEAWAY!}


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***Thanks to all who entered. THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED and I have contacted the winners via email. ***


Candles flicker in the low morning light, filling the air with their familiar spice and warmth.

Coffee filled to the brim of my favorite-for-now mug scrounged from cupboards not mine is cradled in my hands as I will contentment to bubble up from the depths of the uncertainty filling my soul.

A hodgepodge of funky and varied Christmas decor adorns the walls and shelves and tabletops – fine and appreciated substitutes for our own treasures packed away in a crate halfway around the world.

And in the backdrop, music with warmth and charm and hope swirls and sways in the air making a house not our own feel like home.

The songs so drip with hope and expectation that it makes my soul ache.

We’ve been in a time of transition and waiting for longer than I care to admit, and the idea of leaning into the Advent season, which by its very nature is full of even more waiting, makes me bristle just a tad.

Yet my children dance and hum along and talk about how the words of these songs make them feel good inside. The Weight of the World – a song about how unable we are to carry our own burdens so we must carry it all to King Jesus in prayer -is the favorite of my eight year old daughter. My ten year old and five year old claim O Come, O Come Emmanuel as their favorite. They adore thinking about what it must have been like to know Jesus was going to come, but having no idea when. And in a strange way, it feels a bit like that in our day, does it not?

My kids have been through the ringer of transition and upheaval, and these songs are like a mother’s kiss to their hearts. They can relate to the ache of longing for God to show up, and they can shout with joy because He’s already here.  And these songs bring a new joy to the waiting, and through music and word miraculous mystery of the gospel is magnified right before their eyes as they are ushered again and again to the throne of grace disguised as a manger.

Waiting SongsThen we sing along to the Magnificat as we recognize that there is rejoicing to be done in the presence of the King. He has done great things for us and there are abundant mercies and gifts for which to be grateful! We have been rescued! He has done exactly what He has promised – and we are a part of those promises even today! What joy!!

The latest album from Rain for Roots, Waiting Songs, is beautiful, haunting and perfect for young hearts. Waiting Songs is

 an album of Advent. These songs are about making time for waiting. The King is coming and He is already here. So we practice listening, quieting ourselves, celebrating, whispering good news, and yelling shouts of joy. In the Rain for Roots family, we practice most of all by singing to ourselves, to each other, and to our children about true things. He is coming — the Joy of Every Longing Heart. Our longing hearts. Grown ups and children; we are the same in this. Through these songs, may God call us closer into conversation with Himself while we wait and hope with expectation. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.

Even though Rain for Roots composes their music in order to grow God’s truth in little hearts, it is anything but the typical kids’ songs style and sound. Their music is absolutely gorgeous, and at times I think I enjoy it more than my kids do! Waiting Songs is by far my favorite of all their albums, and I know you and your family will love it, too! (You’ll love it whether or not you have kiddos, I promise!)

I invite you to light your own candles, grab a soothing warm cup of cocoa and open your ears and hearts to these beautiful, rich songs. You can hear one of my favorite songs, Come Light Our Hearts, here.


Waiting Songs releases November 10, but today FIVE of you good folks can win your very own digital copy of Waiting Songs!

And ONE of you will walk away with an entire Rain for Roots library of CDs!!!

To enter, simply comment on this blog post and tell me what your favorite thing about the Advent season is. Want extra entries? Share this post on Twitter, Facebook and/or Pintrest. Simply leave a separate comment for each way you’ve shared. Entries close at midnight EST on Friday, November 13. 

Want more Advent goodness? Join Rain for Roots for a live, online streaming concert on December 4! It’s only $3 per household! Get your concert tickets here.

*Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the album, Waiting Songs, for the purposes of this review, but the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

The Greatest Competition that Never Was


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I sat in the waiting room babbling away to the woman next to me in the adorable outfit and impeccable hair with her babe laid to her breast. I don’t know why I felt the need to explain to the woman next to me why my baby was drinking from a bottle. I wanted her to know that I had breasted all of my babies, but this particular one was extremely hungry and with the stress of a postnatal infection, my body just couldn’t keep up. I wanted her to know I was a real mom.

I stood in line and stared at the child behind me…eating stickers. I wondered if his mother knew what he was doing. Should I say something to her? If she was any kind of mother she’d pay closer attention to her child. But then I looked at her face, and that’s when I saw it.

Hoodwinked quoteI saw the same bone-numbing fatigue in her eyes as I felt in my own. I saw the same slightly stooped shoulders of a woman who worries that she should be doing more for her children than she is. I saw the weight of guilt and perceived failure sitting on her back; and I felt it on my own.

Somewhere along the way we’ve deluded ourselves into thinking we can handle our own insecurities by one-upping the mama next to us and showing her how it’s really done. We’ve been hoodwinked into thinking its us versus all of them; that we must prove ourselves worthy of the title of mother. And we make darn sure they prove themselves worthy to us!

Oh, sisters, aren’t you weary? Aren’t you weary of the warring, the judging, the one-upping and the wondering? We’re all in this together, my friends. We’ve all left the house with spit up down our back and strained peas in our hair. We all have stayed up nights soothing a crying baby…or worrying about why the baby is so quiet. We all worry that we’re doing it wrong and heap guilt upon guilt on our own shoulders for not doing enough, not being enough.

Hoodwinked CoverIn their new booked, Hoodwinked, Ruth Schwenk of The Better Mom and Karen Ehman of Proverbs 31 Ministries take us on a journey through the ten myths of motherhood our culture perpetuates. With kindness, humility, and a good dose of humor, Ruth and Karen help us

  • Identify those myths above

  • Replace the lies with the truth of what God says in the Bible about mothering

  • Acquire practical tools to help them form new and improved thought patterns and healthy behaviors

  • Forge healthy, supportive relationships with other moms of all ages and stages

  • Confidently embrace the calling of motherhood as they care for their families in their own unique way


I don’t know about you, friend, but I could use a whole lot more friends and supporters in this journey of raising these dear tiny humans; and I need far fewer critics and judges. I also need some loving hands to come alongside and guide me when I myself am the worst of those critics and judges!

Hoodwinked is full of wisdom, laughter, and hope. It is my prayer that through this book a new sisterhood will rise up. One that is determined to serve one another with love and truth and that through them our families, churches, neighborhoods, schools and beyond will be a fortress of comfort, strength and light.


*Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Hoodwinked for the purposes of this review. All views and opinions are my own.*

A Prayer of Truths for When You Just Don’t Feel It


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Hey, God. Yeah, it’s me again.


I’m tired. And to be honest, it doesn’t seem like You’re doing a whole lot to help out here, but I know my feelings can be liars.

Truth PrayerI feel like you’re off somewhere else, giving everyone else their miracles.

I feel like when I talk to You, You just can’t hear it. Either You’re distracted by someone else’s more eloquent prayers or maybe You’re enthralled in your favorite worship song rising up from the multitudes around Your throne.

I feel alone.

I feel defeated.

I feel a lot of things, but I know that my feelings have lead me astray before. So I’m here to remind myself of things I know to be true – whether my feelings match up to the Truth or not.

I know You are good, and You are for my ultimate and eternal good. (Psalm 145:8-13, Romans 8:28)

I know You delight in giving Your children good gifts. (Matthew 7:11)

I know You care about me, and all the tiny details of my life and who I am. (Luke 12:23-25)

I know that You love me. (John 3:16-18, 1 John 3:1, Romans 8:38-39)

I know that You are in control. (Psalm 103:18-20, 1 Timothy 6:14-16)

I know You are faithful. (Psalm 36:4-6, Psalm 89)

Help my heart – my feelings – catch up with what I know.

I believe, Lord….help my unbelief!!

In hopeful fatigue, and in the Powerful name of Jesus I ask these things, knowing You are faithful.