On Narrowing

By Posted in - Books & Family & Writing on April 24th, 2015 39 Comments

FullSizeRenderHappy Friday, my friends. It’s almost noon, and I’m typing away, surrounded by scribbles and scraps of paper, drinking Irish Breakfast tea, blasting Alabama Shakes.

After about six weeks away from working on Present Over Perfect, I’m back into it today, reading old drafts, squinting at each page, trying to figure out what stays, what goes, what comes after what.

I’m working with a new editor in addition to Carolyn, who I love, and I feel as though I’ve hit the jackpot, that these two brilliant women are walking with me, pushing me, telling me the truth, drawing out the best, asking for deeper, richer work.

There are a lot of things I love, but the core of the core for me is writing and family, my two greatest loves. Today I’ll type till Henry gets off the bus, and then tonight is family night—shooting baskets, watching a movie all snuggled up, popcorn and jammies and blankets.

There’s a narrowing that takes place as you grow up, I think—you leave more and more behind: things other people want you to be, things you thought you might want to be, ways of living that never did actually fit, like shoes that are a little too tight.

For those of you who are 18 or 28, and to you 38 years old sounds a million years away, I’m here to tell you it’s great. Getting older is the best thing ever, because you’re so much freer, so much more sure of what you are and what you’re not, so much more able to articulate the most important things.

These next 10 weeks or so will be narrow, in the best possible way, as I work to finish the first draft of this book: lots of writing, lots of silence and space. Lots of shooting baskets and peeling clementines for Mac and reading with Henry. Lots of time around the table with our people, Saturday soccer games, lots of walks to the park.

I’m loving the simplicity and rhythm of this season–the boys have Saturday morning breakfast with Papa, we gather for the Practice on Sunday nights, our small group turns up around our table on Thursdays. I love the signs of spring drawing us outside again, Mac on his glider, and Henry and his friends whooping and shouting, shooting Nerf arrows into the trees. And I love these moments surrounded by words, lining them up, rearranging them, discovering what it is that I really do think and feel by typing, trying, typing.

When I’m writing, I’m very particular about what I listen to and what I read, because it gets inside, you know? I’m a little more permeable in seasons of writing, and so I want to choose stories and sounds that keep good company, that make me braver and wilder and more honest.

Some sounds and stories that are keeping me company this springtime:

What I’m listening to:

Alabama Shakes/Sound & Color

Sandra McCracken/Psalms

Christy Nockels/Let it Be Jesus

Needtobreathe/Rivers in the Wasteland

The Lone Bellow/Then Came the Morning

What I’m reading:

Rachel Held Evans/Searching for Sunday

Jon Ronson/So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Erik Larson/Dead Wake

Gretchen Rubin/Better Than Before

Scot McKnight/A Fellowship of Differents

What else should I be reading and listening to these days? What stories and sounds are keeping you company this springtime?


A film called NOBLE

By Posted in - General on April 16th, 2015 3 Comments



Hi, pals! It’s been ages. It’s almost like I went out of the country, launched a book, did one million radio interviews, spring-breaked with Aaron and the boys, and then last minute flew away …

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You Are Enough

By Posted in - General on February 26th, 2015 31 Comments

My dear friend Margaret bought me this little plate years ago, and I keep it on our bathroom counter. It holds my wedding rings at night, so I see it twice a day, when …

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20 Books

By Posted in - Books on February 21st, 2015 60 Comments

One thing you must know about me: I’m a reader. Like a voracious, crazy, whenever-I-have-two-minutes, books-are-my-oxygen reader. I met a new friend recently, a writer friend, and in the middle of a party, we …

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Use Your Words

By Posted in - General on January 27th, 2015 70 Comments


Last week in Phoenix I ran into a friend I haven’t seen for years. He influenced me very deeply in all sorts of ways in one particular season of life, and then there he …

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Stocking the Pond

By Posted in - Writing on January 13th, 2015 47 Comments

After I dropped Mac off at preschool this morning, I Skyped into my friend Jessica’s fifth grade class. They’re working on narrative writing and wanted to talk to a real live writer. They asked fantastic questions …

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Burn the Candles

By Posted in - General on January 5th, 2015 133 Comments

Happy New Year! I’m one of those people who loves resolutions. I make like a million a year. I make them in January. I make them on Tuesdays and in the summer, and in the …

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10 Christmas Favorites

By Posted in - Life on December 3rd, 2014 14 Comments

I really do love the Christmas season–how it pares things down to their essence: the God of the Universe coming to earth in skin, changing everything. I’m thankful for Advent–that our faith tradition makes space for …

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By Posted in - General on November 11th, 2014 26 Comments


You know, of course, that I’m trying to learn a new rhythm of living, that I’ve been inching my way into it for two years, that I’m writing a book about that fumbling process.

Let …

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Pumpkin Curry

By Posted in - General on October 21st, 2014 14 Comments IMG_5288


Oh, heavens, how long has it been since I’ve posted a recipe? I’ve been working on lots of new recipes, but they’re mostly for Savor–it has more than 20 recipes in it. And the …

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Using Technology to Connect

By Posted in - General on October 13th, 2014 19 Comments

As I’ve said before, I’m so not anti-technology—I love Instagram, & so much of my job involves the lovely wild odd world of the internet. At the same time, I’ve been having lots of conversations lately …

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SIMPLIFY Giveaway Winners!

By Posted in - General on August 21st, 2014 4 Comments

Congratulations to these twenty lucky people! The publishing team will send you an email soon to get your mailing address & then your book will be on its way…

1. Nancy Smith
2. Rhonda Roberts
3. Maggie Broderick
4. …

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