Happy Pi(e) Day?

img_6343.jpgI tend to believe that if I can PICTURE a craft or recipe working in my head, it will work. 

Unfortunately, “picture it working” is not ever in any set of instructions.

So thank you Pi Day, March 14 (3.14), for showing me that my natural lack of talent for all things math is only rivaled by natural lack of talent for making pie crusts. Here’s a snapshot of our celebration of Pi Day, a.k.a. Kill the Food Processor Day in my household. Continue reading


Holy Land Coffee Tour of 2018

[I recently returned from an 11-day experience in Israel. This is the third in a series
about my trip.]


Six completely non-spiritual lessons I discovered as I traveled the Coffee Road to Israel.




1. Turkish coffee. The top 3/4 is dark and thick. The bottom inch is all of the grounds that have been allowing their deliciousness to ooze up. One day I got greedy and took a drink too many. I gagged out loud on the grounds, and everyone at the table turned to me in surprise. Good times. Continue reading

Where’s my buffet?

[I recently returned from an 11-day tour of Israel. This is the second in a series
about my trip. Here’s the first mid-trip update if you’re interested.]

I’m home.

For eleven days I woke up to a sprawling breakfast spread before climbing the steps
to our behemoth of a tour bus.


My first morning home I was thrilled to see my kids’ eyes slowly blinking in the morning light and their hair disheveled and crazy, but I did feel a slight pinch. “Um … where’s the breakfast buffet, people? Oh, that’s right. I’m the person who stands behind the counter and makes the breakfast here. Let me get to work on that.”

Throughout those many days, my eyes lifted from the necessary needs of life (i.e. keeping my children alive, clothed, and educated) and the unnecessary distractions that I allow to creep in. The to-do list that constantly scrolls in the back of my mind like a teleprompter stopped. And even though it’s amazing and healthy to go on any vacation, it was life-changing to allow my spirit to marinate in God’s Word while my mind relaxed. The majority of my hours were spent hearing, seeing, and experiencing truths of the Bible. Continue reading

A land of coffee and Jesus

My tour of the holy land is less than half over, and already my mind feels full to the brim with new experiences and truths to process. I’m going to have to up my coffee game…or maybe I’m just always looking for an excuse to up my coffee game. I know how deeply enjoyable and fulfilling it is to look at someone else’s travel pictures (ahem), so I’ll limit it to just the few that illustrate my favorite experiences of my journey through my version of the land of milk and honey: the land of Jesus and coffee.

This was from the top of Mt Arbel, where you look down and see the Sea of Galilee stretching from one edge of the horizon to the other. At the peak we got caught with a sudden shower of pelting rain and wind–a bonus biblical experience to remind us of Jesus calming the storm that developed so quickly.

And here’s Turkish coffee, where there’s an inch of the darkest sludge of grounds in the bottom. The top 3/4 was dark and delicious.

I’ll keep you updated on my experiences.


Jill the International Traveler (that’s what I’m going to put on my non-existent name plate at my non-existent workplace)

52 cups of coffee and some inconsequential lessons later…

“Hmm…I wonder how many cups of coffee I can drink in one month.”

It was early December (known in my household as the season of my birthday), and my son and I were in the Starbucks line at Target. He saw a starburst sign promoting a $40 to-go mug that gives you free coffee refills for the month of January. “Mom! You have to get that mug!”

My son knows me well. I love a good deal almost as much as I love coffee. To his 10-year-old heart, this mug was the ultimate birthday present. Even though I wasn’t convinced it was actually a good deal, I couldn’t say no to my sweet son. To be kind to him (*cough), I decided to start 2018 by happily drowning in coffee. IMG_5174

Continue reading

Comfortable sure is easy and faith usually isn’t


My life from the outside is comfortable.

I have food to serve my kids each day. I have a really great husband who makes me laugh and sends me to Starbucks for time to myself–two of my main love languages.

But here’s what I’ve learned as my forehead wrinkles deepen and store clerks increasingly call me “ma’am:” I need deep faith muscles to keep my heart
anchored in truth, especially when my life feels comfortable.

So I’m taking a step of faith. It’s a big one for me for many reasons. I’ll be away from my family for 10 days. It’s expensive. It’s something I’ve never done at a
place I’ve never been.

I’M GOING TO ISRAEL! Continue reading

“Mom, should I go to camp?”

IMG_3226A few weeks ago my daughter turned to me while we unloaded the dishwasher. “Mom, do you think I should go to camp?” I hesitated for one second as irrational mom fears bubbled up to the surface–dry drowning, third degree sunburns, killer chiggers. I’ve never actually read about killer chiggers, but I can still imagine they exist.

Continue reading

Writing a Marathon?

Last year, I ran a marathon–not a real marathon that gives me a cool “26.1” bumper sticker, but a writing assignment that made me feel the way I imagine myself running a marathon. (Yes, you can infer by the way I worded that sentence I have never run a marathon and never plan to run a marathon.) Lots of excitement at the beginning, plenty of tears in the middle, a few exhaustion collapses, and high-fives and emotional thank you’s to my loved ones who kept me alive when I was hyperventilating. I wrote four devotionals that are now in the She Reads Truth Bible. The majority of the other contributors probably described it as a relaxing walk through the park, but for me this project was a true challenge. Like so many marathon finishers, what I learned during the struggle far outweighs the joy of crossing the finish line. I felt and tasted and heard  and saw the truth we all uncover during challenges. When I am pushed beyond my own limits and I know success is miles away from the reach of my own hand, my only choice is to trust in the help of my good, good Father. And He never disappoints us. He never pushes us away for being weak. He is always faithful.

If you’re interested in reading more about She Reads Truth or their recently released Bible, visit shereadstruth.com.