Share Four Somethings—January 2023
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Near the end of each month, I share four somethings at Jennifer’s. (This is her first month to host following Heather’s long run.)

Plus here’s my last month’s One Second Everyday video . . . 

[click here if you can’t see the video]

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

What I’m Loving

  • VIDEO BABY MONITOR

When we started keeping our grandbabies for occasional overnight visits 5 years ago, I bought a new baby monitor. It worked fine for hearing them in the night if they cried or woke up, just like when our own daughters were babies.

But this Christmas my youngest daughter bought us a video version. We love not only hearing but now also seeing our little grandson as he sleeps in the crib. 

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

What I’m Reading 

  • SPIRITUAL MEMOIRS

This year I’m joining Lory for her Spiritual Memoir Reading Challenge. Lory has created twelve prompts to help us “expand our inner world by reading about the spiritual journeys of others.”

Her suggested categories take you on a tour of the major spiritualities of the world.

I’m starting with her first suggestion, a book that engages with the Hindu tradition, the popular Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. While this book is one of the “100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century,” the Hindu journey is one of the least familiar ones to me.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

What I’m Learning

  • WHY I PROCRASTINATE

I don’t typically consider myself a procrastinator. I’d rather get something done too soon rather than too late so I won’t have to worry about it any longer.

But it’s not totally true.

I notice I keep moving certain tasks off my to-do list from today to tomorrow to next week.

I’m looking for clues about why. Some of the tasks are boring, so I just don’t want to do them. I understand those.

But other tasks I procrastinate about are ones that require an emotional investment, and I wonder if I procrastinate about those because the risk feels too great. I want to get them perfect, so I delay doing them at all. 

We all have blind spots. There are always more things to learn about ourselves. Why I put off certain tasks until later is something I’d like to better understand. And change.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

What I’m Eating

  • CRUNCHY FOODS

After a difficult phone conversation ended yesterday, I found myself in the kitchen, looking in the pantry for something yummy to eat to make myself feel better.

I am proud that I turned around and went for a short walk instead.

But after the walk, I returned back to the kitchen.

And grabbed a can of Pringles. I only ate 4 or 5 chips. But still. It’s crunchy foods I’m drawn to when I eat for comfort or out of boredom. My favorite go-to crunchy food? Fritos Scoops Corn Chips. Yummy.

What’s your favorite comfort food? 

Share in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties


Grace & Truth Featured Post

Have you ever taken a joy ride? Lauren Sparks is looking for a different kind of joy ride this year. Joy is her One Word for 2023.

Lauren says,

“I have put in a lot of work the last few years and I think God wants me to lighten up.”

Read all of Lauren’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.

Joy Ride: My Word of the Year


Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

A Book a Day – Recommendations of 28 Nonfiction Favorites

Looking for a new nonfiction book to read?

Each day of February 2023 I’ll be recommending one book a day from my favorite nonfiction books.

Subscribe here to get the recommendations as they’re posted via email.

Day 1: The Anthropocene Reviewed
How would you rate everyday items in your life? The Anthropocene Reviewed is an extraordinary book of short essays on ordinary topics.

Day 2: The Sleep Solution
Try not to make your sleep struggles too big of a deal. This book helps: The Sleep Solution.

Day 3: Do the Work
You think it’s hard to talk about racism? It’s much harder to experience racism. Do the work of anti-racism.

Day 4: Bittersweet
We’re built to live simultaneously in love and loss, bitter and sweet,” says Susan Cain in her book, Bittersweet.

Day 5: Tomorrow Will Be Different  [coming February 5]

Day 6: Atlas of the Heart [coming February 6]


Favorite series from previous years:

What nonfiction book would you recommend? Share in the comments.


How Well Do You Know Your One Word? {One Word 2023 January Linkup}

Link all of your One Word blog posts below. Share an update about your One Word in the comments.

Get More Familiar with Your New One Word

In this first month with your new word, ask yourself these questions.

A. WHERE IS MY WORD?

Where have you already seen your word? Where can you put it so you can see it more often?

I am seeing my word HUMAN everywhere—in books I read, in sermons I hear, in shows I watch. I have intentionally inserted it as a daily reminder on my digital calendar. 

B. WHAT DOES MY WORD LOOK LIKE?

What does your word look like to you? Take a photo or draw a picture or create a graphic to visualize your word.

Well, we all know what HUMAN looks like. But here’s the graphic I created to catch the blog posts I write this year.

One Word 2023: Human

C. WHY THIS WORD?

Why did you choose this word? Write out your answer and/or tell at least one other person. If you haven’t already, print and fill out this simple 2-page worksheet to help clarify your word.

In 2022 I struggled with my humanness. I saw more of my weaknesses, flaws, and vulnerabilities. But instead of fighting against being human, I decided to be more compassionate about it. If humans are indeed made in the image of God, then being human—with all its highs and lows—is a beautiful thing. This is the year I want to explore more fully what it really means to be human.

If you don’t already receive our monthly One Word emails but would like to, sign up here for free.

Join Us for One Word 2023

This January linkup will remain open for two weeks through Monday, February 6. Each link shared here will also be shared with our One Word Facebook group

Next month’s linkup will be Thursday, February 23 (every linkup in ’23 will be on the 23rd).

I hope your One Word adventure is off to a good start!


If you chose One Word (or a phrase or a scripture, etc.) this year, why?

Leave a comment here about your One Word.

Link Up About Your One Word!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


5 Words to Keep Her Free
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Did I Really Do That?

I’m not sure what came over me. I hadn’t planned to say anything. But I did. 

I was waiting in line to take communion at the retreat center last Sunday. This was the final day of the Southern Lights conference we’d been attending on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

A sweet woman I’d met only briefly just the day before was about to pass by me in the opposite direction. She was on the way back to her seat after having already received the bread and wine.

But she paused when she saw me. Quickly and quietly, she reached out her hand. We locked eyes. I put my hand on her shoulder and leaned in.

I whispered five words in her ear. I knew why. But did she understand?

She responded back, “I know, right?”

Then the line moved on.

I didn’t see her again. I may never see her again. 

But I won’t forget her.

Don’t Grow Weary

Only minutes earlier, we’d been listening to a message from the powerful Reggie Williams, not the retired NBA basketball player, but the Associate Professor at McCormick Theological Seminary and author of the renowned book, Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus (I haven’t read it yet, but I want to).

Dr. Williams, or Reggie as he called himself, had been delivering a powerful message about Elijah being weary after his battle on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal. He reminded us we, too, can get weary as we long to share God’s genuine love in this world.

Rest when you need to, but don’t grow weary, Reggie told us.

He talked about the oppression still in our country. About how “there’s no hate like Christian love.” About how freedom is when we are “free to love each other.”

And he talked about how so many have tried to take away freedom from Black women in particular, to control their bodies, for so many years.

The Five Words

When he said that, I thought of the new friend I’d briefly met Saturday.

She had stood up in our small group session and told us her story. She’d been sex trafficked for 15 years. She finally broke free from it. But when she went to church, she was met with roadblocks from some white folk in her struggle to crawl to the cross. 

But she made it anyway. She went back to school. And now she’s well on her way to securing her PhD.

So after Reggie’s sermon, when this woman of God walked by me in her majestic Black skin, I felt compelled to whisper these words, “Don’t let anybody control you.”

Looking back, I wonder if she wondered why I said that. Maybe she thought I was just a crazy white woman. Maybe I am. 

But no matter. I know why I said the words. 

I wanted to encourage her to stay strong in the freedom she’s found.

Because I need her to stay free. I need to see the work and wonder and Love she’ll be putting into the world for years to come.

I know we’ll all be the better for it.


Share your thoughts in the comments

I’m linking at these blog parties

Grace & Truth Featured Post

Over 15 years ago, Molly quietly spoke two words to Stephanie after only knowing each other a week.

I got goosebumps reading Stephanie’s story. It prompted me to remember and write down my own incident I just shared above. 

Read all of Stephanie’s post here, then add your own links below.

Hold. Steady.


Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Did I Say Too Much? When You Get a Vulnerability Hangover

“Vulnerability asks you to soften your ego so we can see your soul.”
– Sasha Tozzi

To Post or Not to Post?

I wake up at home in my bed in the early hours Monday morning. Jeff is still asleep beside me.

The questions begin popping up in my mind: should I delete Monday’s blog post about our fight before it hits the air?

  • Am I saying too much in it?
  • Am I being too vulnerable?
  • Will it look like our marriage is in trouble when it’s not?

This anxious feeling we may get after taking an emotional risk has been coined a “Vulnerability Hangover” by Dr. Brené Brown. I get one after I’ve divulged something quite personal.

I start worrying I overshared in the blog post. At the least, I don’t want to be misunderstood if I didn’t communicate clearly enough, and at the most, I don’t want to be hurt in a backlash caused from my own words.

Vulnerability Is Courageous

In our culture, vulnerability can be equated with weakness. It can leave us feeling exposed and unprotected.

But in reality, Brené Brown says that,

“Vulnerability is having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerabiilty is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

It just doesn’t always feel that way in the middle of a vulnerability hangover.

Yet emotional vulnerability is like a magnet; it draws us together. When we share more of ourselves with each other, the closer we become.

I know I feel closer to people when they let their guard down and open up to me. Instead of thinking less of them for mistakes they share or embarrassing moments they relay, I feel honored that they trust me with their stories.

Their vulnerability reminds me they’re human, too.

Yet I sometimes hold myself to a higher standard than other people. That’s silly. I’m just as human as everybody else. Of course I am. I don’t have to be a Superhuman or a Superchristian or a Superwife. I can just be me. I can try my best, but my best doesn’t have to be (and never is) far and above everybody else.

We all have good days. And we all have bad days. Sometimes we’re kind to people we meet; sometimes we’re a bear. Sometimes we can’t get enough of our spouse. Other times we argue.

It’s not just me who gets in “disagreements” with people I love.

We’re all the same.

Exercise Your Vulnerability Muscle

The clock now shines 5 a.m. Monday morning. Instead of pulling out my computer, I stay in bed. I don’t revoke the post I’ve been questioning. I let it roll on into the world.

I ask Jeff later to read the post to make sure he’s okay with it. He is. I tell him again how much I love him. He really is the right man for me.

Granted, we have to learn who we can be vulnerable with and who we can’t. Some people aren’t equipped or desirous enough to appropriately handle our truths. Thankfully I have a safe spouse. He’s earned my vulnerability by proving he can be trusted.

In this year with my One Word: Human, I’m grateful for this human I get to live with. And that he still prefers to live with me above anyone else.

Yet even with him, I can still get a vulnerability hangover if I feel I’ve shared too much of myself.

Dr. Emma Seppala says that living with the aftereffects of vulnerability “requires courage initially, but then it’s like this muscle you build.”

Being vulnerable—i.e., allowing myself to show up as fully human—is a muscle I want to keep exercising. And maybe one day I’ll outgrow it’s hangover.

If that’s humanly possible.


Do you ever get a vulnerability hangover, too? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more:


6 Notes to Myself Before Our Next Fight

My thoughts in the car after a garden-variety argument with my spouse on a long ride home:

If somebody says to you, “You hurt my feelings,” (1) believe them.

  • Don’t argue.
  • Don’t get defensive.
  • Don’t tell them they’re wrong.

Just believe them. Because of your previous words or behaviors, they now feel pain.

An appropriate next step might be to (2) say, “I’m sorry. Can you tell me more?”

(3) And then listen and believe what they tell you next.

  • You don’t have to agree with their interpretation.
  • You don’t have to confess fault to a motive you didn’t have (unless you did have it).
  • You don’t have to say everything else you’re thinking.

But can you just believe this is how they’re feeling? That this is what they’re hearing? That, intentionally or not, you have hurt them?

And if you really want to engage love, (4) can you listen closer to offer appropriately fresh words of compassion? (5) Perhaps give an apology for causing pain, asking for nothing in return? (6) Perhaps make a resolve to repair the damage and cause less pain next time?

There’s a difference between agreement and understanding. We don’t have to agree on everything. But can we attempt to better understand each other?

Show mercy. Give grace.

Practice love.

* * *

We all have conflicts with people we love. The way we respond in these clashes is what makes or breaks a day. A relationship. A life.

I’m grateful for the people (especially my spouse) who show me mercy, give me grace, and practice love with me when I need it most.

May I do likewise for them.

This is a life of love. It makes long car rides much more pleasant.


Share your thoughts in the comments.

sharing at these linkups