What I Did This August

Hello! I'm promise, I'm not a reanimated corpse, it's the real me, back to bring you more of my parentheses-filled writing!First, I have to give a huge (!!!!) thanks to the 25 folks who guest posted last month. Seriously, twenty-five people agreed to help fill in while I was taking my break. That is absolutely ridiculous. What was even more amazing was that they stepped up and presented quality content here. I am genuinely grateful to each person who donated their work to me to help keep things afloat during my month off. And not just afloat, but like a luxury cruise-liner. I could gush for pages about this, but for reals, know that your generosity was deeply appreciated by this blogger. And if you missed any of the posts last month, be sure to go back and check them out, because … [Read more...]

God, Faith and Invisible Eyewear by Rich Chaffins

This month started with a story about friendship and we wrap it up with an offering from my best friend. In addition to being an adoring husband, devoted father, talented guitarist, skilled luthier, on-call editor, and bottomless blog post suggester, Rich is also a fantastic writer. I love my virtual village, but I get by because of my real life friends and I could not be happier to share Rich's words with you today. Thanks bestie.++++++++++Growing up in a Christian home can be a great thing, and in my experience, it was. I was raised by my paternal grandparents, two of the best people I’ve ever known,  from around 3rd grade til I graduated high school. As I went away to college, I left their home with many things in tow:  a love of small-town life; lessons learned from years of … [Read more...]

And I’m Worth It by Cathy LaGrow

I think Cathy is one blogger who might be even more eclectic in her topics than I am! As a fellow pianist and wearer of "in front" headphones, I have felt a connection with Cathy for some time, but her post today makes me want to give her a huge hug and tell her thank you. If you've ever felt like you had no worth, please take your time and let the truths in this post sink in deep.++++++++++++I remember so vividly the moment I first realized that my worth as a human being had nothing to do with my performance as one. It was a moment that changed everything.Growing up in a volatile religious household, I’d been taught that a person was only as good as their next “A,” their next blue ribbon, their next superb performance. Achievement and behavior were given the highest priority in our world. … [Read more...]

The Pink Stick by Jen Luitwieler

I adore Jen Luitwieler (even though I misspell her name all the freakin' time). She is the best encourager when it comes to running. For reals. Every time I post something about running, she comments, even though I'm a total n00b and she's this running rockstar. Her book publishes on September 1 and I'm telling you now, you absolutely must purchase it. I adore this post because it's exactly the way I felt on a couple of occasions. Now, read, then go preorder her book.++++++++++++“I can’t.” I glared again at the slender pink stick in my hand. I used my other hand to prop up my head, rubbing my worry lines between my eyes into worry caverns. I kept thinking if I waited another 3 to 5 minutes, giving the pink stick more time to do its calculus, it could change its mind and reverse the future … [Read more...]

Comfort by Jennifer Harris Dault

Another of my Twitter compadres, Jennifer is a wonderful woman. Even though she apparently doesn't like coffee, which probably calls into question her whole salvation, I'm glad to have her guest posting here today. I've had some of these conversations over the years and her words are a great reminder. (Update: Jennifer assures me that she loves coffee. Spiritual crisis averted.)++++++++++“I don’t like these new songs,” she said.I accidentally swallowed a cherry seed. Was she talking to me? I was only the summer intern, but I had just filled in for the pastor during the morning worship service. Since the chancel area doesn’t have good air flow, I needed water, liquid, something. Something OTHER than coffee, which was all that seemed to be available during the church fellowship time. So I … [Read more...]

Family by Birth, Friends by Choice by Leigh Kramer

Leigh is another one of the contributors to the Not Alone book and for that I am profoundly thankful. But aside from that, Leigh is following her dreams all the way to Nashville and I admire her bravery so much. She is a lovely writer and I'm so glad to have a chance to share her writing with you today!+++++++++It wasn't easy being the only girl amongst the boys on my mom's side of the family. Granted, I was not the sole granddaughter but with Clara and Emily missing most of our celebrations, it was up to me to represent. For the most part, the boys overlooked the girl in their midst.There are good memories, like the time we all danced the Super Bowl Shuffle in my grandparent's basement. But if you'd told me two decades ago that I'd someday enjoy spending time with my boy cousins and … [Read more...]

The Allure of Depression by Tony Alicea

Every now and then, you get to meet someone who is just plain nice in every way. Tony is one of those people. And I know some people will be mad that I called a dude nice, but he just IS. He's kind and encouraging and funny and honest and nice. Anyway. This is a bit of a different side of Tony today. Still totally his voice, but this isn't something that I've seen him write about on his blog, and I'm glad that he was willing to share it here. +++++++++++I don’t struggle with depression but I have gotten a glimpse of it.Three years after my divorce, I hit a wall. This was different than anything I had ever experienced before. I wasn’t feeling the typical loneliness or sadness that I was used to. Those feelings came and went in spurts. This was deep, dark and in retrospect…absolutely … [Read more...]

Living Room Confession by Kyla Cofer

I met Kyla through the Not Alone book. She submitted a wonderful piece for that, and we extended our relationship beyond. I am so thankful for her courage in sharing her story about depression and I'm glad to have her posting about intentional living today on the blog.+++++++++++I once went to Confession - in my friend's living room. I sat with my four closest friends, watching an old episode of Parks and Rec, while we waited for 9 o’clock to arrive so we could make our way to a goodbye party. The episode ended; that Amy Pohler - she’s a funny one. Netflix began to load the next episode and we commenced our chatting over our outfits and the men in our lives. Amanda asked me a personal question, and I took a deep breath before allowing the conversation return to something less … [Read more...]

Judgment Day: Judge Judy or Mythbusters? Dan McMonagle

Dan is one of my music friends over on Twitter. Any time I tweet something about playing, I can pretty much count on a response from him, which is great, because I totally geek out about stuff like that. It's always a little scary to post about hell on your site, but Dan has managed to somehow make this a light-hearted post. Don't be fooled though, this will get you thinking as well!++++++++Part I: the “Dream”I had a dream a few nights ago that scared the crud out of me! It was judgment day, but we weren’t standing before God: we were on the set of “Judge Judy” with a studio audience and a wacked out cast of characters. {Not a real dream… just roll with it…. ;-}Thankfully, I wasn’t on trial -- I was the court reporter, hammering at the steno machine, trying to record the events & … [Read more...]

Broken Feet by Preston Yancey

I haven't known Preston very long, but I've got to tell you, I'm glad to have met him. He writes a tremendously thoughtful blog and it's always a joy to run across those. I hope that you'll enjoy his contribution to the Extravaganza as much as I did!+++++++++I prayed a dangerous thing once. I asked God to break my feet because it had become too easy to come to Him.I was in a space of deep dissatisfaction with my self, with my faith. Things were accepted to readily, I didn’t have enough questions, and the more I evaluated this lack of curiosity the more I realized it had come from a place of pride in certainty. And this was alarming. Alarming because I have never had the kind of faith that wavered much. I have a terrible gift of faithfulness, an almost painful trust in the provision of God. … [Read more...]