See Jen Write: The Best of the Blog


Two years ago, I wrote a blog post called “A Quiet Thing” about anticipation and Advent.

We had recently won an exhausting custody battle and the post was about how we can spend months or even years looking forward to something, only to be surprised by how different it feels when it actually happens. At those moments, the bells don’t ring and the choir doesn’t sing. . . . the happiness is actually a quiet thing.

In that blog post I forecasted feeling the same way if I ever held a book with my name on the front cover. And sure enough, that also feels very different. As …


opinions expressed by the 62-year-old Italian couple behind me on American flight 4657

–This flight is already ten minutes late.

–It’s not tornado season. That’s October. It’s like the hurricanes.

–Probiotics! I’m saying, they just make you so itchy.

–We should have taken off twenty minutes ago!

–I brought my own water. You can’t trust the water on these planes.

–You want to always get a flu shot. You don’t get a flu shot, you’re gonna cry.

–Solitaire is better with the sound turned way up. You need to hear the cards clicking.

–Are you KIDDING ME? They haven’t even closed the plane’s door yet.

–These bags of pretzels couldn’t get any smaller.

–Someone’s going to figure out his death was a set-up for life insurance. Sure they will. We figured it …


dads are single too

Today Matt is on the blog, with an article in this month’s Christian Standard that I wanted to share with my own readers. Does your church consider single dads as much as they do single moms?

“Please raise your hand if you can name three single moms in your congregation,” I said while co-leading a workshop at the 2015 North American Christian Convention. Many hands proudly shot up. Most of us can easily rattle off the names of three or four single mothers. Many …


the prodigal’s brother

A minister friend of mine recently invited me to contribute to his church’s Lenten devotional, and I was assigned Luke 15:11-32 — the story of the prodigal son. Here’s what I wrote.

This story is probably Jesus’ most well-known parable.
In fact, it is so central to the Christian faith that it has been celebrated in film, literature, visual art, music, and dance throughout the centuries. Something deep in our souls stirs at the idea God could love us as unconditionally and unreservedly as the father in the story loves his prodigal …


tour of duties

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

m22.Eucharistic_MinisterRecently, two older ladies in our church began taking Communion to members in the hospital. While this is far from the 24-hour, professionally trained chaplaincy program organized by First Christian Church in Decatur, IL,  for Miss Marilyn and Miss Pat it was a Bigfoot-sized step out of their comfort zones.

“I was scared to death,” Pat said the Sunday after her first hospital visit. But she did it, gathering up the portable Communion set and her car keys …


8 things I learned this week

tortilla_soup_420_2spoonsI hate colder weather, but I sure do love soup.

“Since worrying about the outcome is unproductive, I try to think about the next actions that will move the project forward. ” A good reminder to do the next right thing.

Whatever amount of internet speed $86 a month gets us, it’s not enough for four phones, two laptops, and an Xbox.

I’m going to miss Key and Peele.

I was okay with not getting a vacation this year until I found myself bugging a colleague for work only …


the strongest links (november 7)

shane copy 2The Hilarious Story of Shane the Walmart Deli Guy Told through Notes from His Boss from dailyviralstuff.com. I’d like to meet Shane.

Moments in November: A poem by Laura Buffington on rebelstorytellers.com. Lovely.

A Mother’s Repentance from The Rabbit Room. “In my imagination, there is a room in some transcendent realm where mothers of teenagers pray. The walls are open through arches, and there are thin white curtains hanging down, and the breeze snaps them. A …


repost: things matt says to both me and the dog

I’m so glad you’re here.

Do you want to cuddle?

You’re so cute.

I missed you.

Are you hungry?

Love you so much.

Do you want to go for a walk?

You are so good with the kids.

What are you doing?

You’re my favorite.


time to go deeper

In his new book Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus (run, don’t walk, to get your copy when it releases in June), Chris Smith writes, “It can seem more practical and convenient (and even considerate!) to keep to ourselves and minimize the risk that we’ll get entangled in the lives of others. And yet, as much as we are formed by Western individualism, and though we have allowed that individualism to shape the way we read Scripture, our calling …


a list for friday: my best moments as a kid

Yes, this is me. Not a best moment.

I loved this recent article about one dad’s rediscovery of his daughter when he picks her up at camp. I enjoyed his keen insights into parenting, his happy memories of summer camp (I wish Miles and Nina could experience this!), and his wonderful sense of humor.

But what stuck with me was this quote:

The best moments of childhood—the memories that stay with you into adulthood—are ones where your parents aren’t there. They are moments you experienced truly for …