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Be brave

This month, this song is haunting me.

No one believes me, no one believes meThey shake their heads and say“What good comes from Bethlehem?” I know what I saw, I know what I saw And it was just like they said Just like they said it would be Wrapped in a cloth, laid in a mangerYears later I walked by this placeI know this placeThe roof caved in, but I know this placeCause I ran the whole wayAnd it was just like they said

We get one glimpse of the shepherds. We don’t know their names or if they were friends or how many there were. We don’t know anything about …


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 …


See Jen’s Book!

A few months ago, a colleague asked me what my favorite writing project is, and without hesitation I replied, “My blog.” During more than a decade of creating websites, curriculum, press releases, strategic plans, and branding material for others, this has been the one place where I can write in my own voice, about the things I care about. This blog has been life-giving and life-saving and fun.

I’ve been blogging since 2006, and 11 years is a good run. But everything has a “season,” as we like …


body life

Last week a client asked me watch videos of their “Body Life” series of classes, designed to introduce people to the church and its culture, and suggest ways to revamp the material into a shorter, more conversational video project. It was one of the best investments of time I made this month – and not just because I’ll get paid for the work.

Over the course of the five-week class, the teaching pastors and other leaders teach on Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 and tie this prayer for “echad” or oneness …


15 things I learned on vacation

Yak tastes a lot like beef but costs $4 more.

It doesn’t rain much in Colorado, unless the Johnsons are going to a waterpark.

I want to travel everywhere by train.

It’s good that Miles didn’t lose his suitcase, because he simply wrote “Cheesesteak City” as the address on his luggage tag.

Nina doesn’t talk much when the hike starts at 7 am and she stayed up until 1am watching “The Office.”

Abhineeta Matney makes amazing Indian food from scratch (and she’s gracious when you’re 15 minutes late because of the bad traffic in Denver).

There is always, …


repost: why vs. how

If you’re stuck, consider asking “how” instead of “why.”

I’ve realized most of the questions keeping me up at night start with why: Why did she say that? Why does he feel that way? Why didn’t that client call back? Why hasn’t this relationship worked out? And why does it bother me so much? (That’s an especially fun one, as it blends “I shouldn’t feel the way I do” WITH the unpleasant question. Not recommended for beginners.)

Why questions about ourselves can be helpful—it’s good to consider our own issues and the way …


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 …


repost: 11 rejected VBS themes


God’s Great Creation and How You’re Ruining It

It’s Only Grape Juice: Sharing the Truth with Your Catholic Friends

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Let’s Clean the Church

God Can Do Anything—So Pray Away Your Peanut Allergy!

Heaven is for Rizzle: Rapping through the Psalms

Journeys with Job

jabVaccination Station! Just Get Your Measles Shot Already

Talking in Tongues by Tuesday

A Warrior After God’s Own Heart: Re-creating the Battles of David*

Jesus Loves You, …


a milestone for Miles

I originally created this video last September when Miles turned 18, but only shared it via Facebook. Today it returns with the blog treatment because tomorrow Miles, unbelievably, graduates from high school!

My memories with Miles go back to 2010. He was a sweet, funny sixth grader who stood only 5′ tall and whose voice hadn’t changed. (Update: he’s now a giant.)  Of course, Matt’s memories go back to 1998 when Miles was a sweet, squishy baby with the whole world ahead.

The whole world is still there, Miles, just waiting for you to make your mark. We love you and we’re proud of you.




“social” event

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

Gather any group of people over age 40 and you’ll hear frustration about how much time younger people spend on their phones. “I’m at a restaurant watching a couple,” a friend told me recently. “They are obviously on a date, and yet they are both staring at their phones instead of talking to each other.”

The friend texted me this information from her own phone.

It’s true that smartphone use is out of control for many of us.