For the Love


Jen Hatmaker is the author of Interrupted and Seven, and for those who follow her work, you’ll be excited to read her newest release For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. I do have a copy to giveaway too!

I’ve been so excited to be on her launch team for this release, and you will love it.JenHatmaker4

I really, really love her kitchen too.

You can read all about the book on the For the Love website and watch the book trailer.


For all who have ever felt like not enough…

Jen pours out grace and offers encouragement. For the Love is an invitation to let go of our complicated striving, and instead find meaning in loving well.

She encourages us to take ‘off the beam’ anything piled there out of guilt or unreasonable expectations. Freedom.

Her best advice is for her kids- but I love it.


Yes. I really think its that simple too.

“The breadth of God’s family is mercifully wide.”

So let’s be good to each other, and also good to ourselves.


You will laugh because she talks about turning forty, leggings as pants- (a no), her spicy family, difficult people, surviving school in a Pinterest age, her no drama forcefield. One of my favorite chapters is- Dear Christians, Please Stop Being Crappy. She’s funny that way.

A series of chapters sprinkled through the book are sarcastic thank-you notes on such topics as instagram filters, the school pick-up line, Target, sick husbands, skinny jeans, and Taco Bell. (Those should not have been referenced together- skinny jeans and Taco Bell.)


I love the beam analogy in the book.

What needs to come off your beam this season? (Me- thinking the food things I have to bring for events needs to be homemade. I’m a horrible cook/baker. I’m going to the store from now on. Off the beam- freedom.)

Comment here and be entered to win a copy of the book.



36 Hope Expands:

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

I saw a project on Pinterest. Thanksgivings have passed, and I never followed through. (I’m awesome at pinning- very not awesome at completing something that looks/tastes normal.) Ever seen this website Pinterest Fail– where good intentions come to die, also Epic Pinterest Fails? This is me, every day.

Yesterday we finally made our thanksgiving tree for the month of November. Every night at dinner each one of us will add one more leaf for something we are thankful for.

I want to live in gratitude.


No, this is not pin-able. It is our little tree.

I know being thankful has a way of re-shaping our hearts.

What seemed impossible softens. What once went unnoticed becomes meaningful. Mostly, the grace of God becomes a consolation that draws you to your knees.


My first leaf was this: Ellie’s art work.

When the kids were little, my writing desk was in the living room. Now that they are growing up, I moved it to our little extra room upstairs. It’s snuggled up next to our guest bed, and that is about all that fits, the bed and the desk. I was so excited for my own space, but something happens every time I enter. Another presence is there watching me edit over my shoulder, laying her magazine pages over the bed, dropping markers, rifling through the desk. The minute I started creating the thanksgiving tree, someone was next to me cutting like a mad woman. Sometimes I come upstairs and find things like this paper clipped to my folders.


My ingratitude for not having a quiet space softens. I know this is more important. I know that God’s grace has been so good to me… that we have layers and layers of purpose.

What would your first leaf say? 

Though My Heart is Torn, Joanne Bischof

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Be Still My Soul was the first book in the Cadence of Grace Series by Joanne Bischof. We had the privilege of having Joanne visit About Proximity when the first novel released. The second in the series is called My Heart is Torn. The last in the trilogy, My Hope is Found will release in October 2013.

Be Still My Soul was a beautiful love story with unique elements. Lonnie and Gideon were forced into a hasty marriage. Through the pages of the story their relationship struggled and grew as Gideon became the man God intended him to be and Lonnie believed he could be. The sweet unfolding of a realistic relationship made the story memorable.


In Though My Heart is Torn, Gideon’s past comes back to haunt them.

Gideon O’Riley has two wives-but he doesn’t know it.

Every page of this story was heartbreaking; to see love torn apart, haunting past mistakes and a fledgling faith.

I don’t want to reveal to much of the story line, but I absolutely can’t wait to read the last book of the trilogy. This story, I read in two days, which means double thumbs up. Lonnie’s strength to move forward as a single Mom and trust in a bigger plan is a beautiful example, yet she shows her vulnerability and pain honestly. Gideon’s desire to be worthy of all God has called him to be inspires. You can feel his struggle reverberate through his physical being. New characters add an extra layer of faith journey to the story line.


The story also asks an important question:

How do our choices affect others and in response how God’s grace always has the power to redeem.


You can follow Joanne Bischof’s blog here, also on facebook and twitter

Read the first chapter here.

joanne-bishofMarried to her first sweetheart, Joanne Bischof lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home-schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.



Leave a comment and win a copy of the book! 

From the study guide:

Can you think of a time when you relied on God’s grace to resolve an issue?

{I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.}

Opposition to Victory


Joining in with other writers for Alene Snodgrass’s summer study.

As Moses sought to free his people, Pharaoh gave him resounding no’s. Ten times! And the no’s were accompanied by plagues. Real deal plagues.

Fight through the opposition because others are counting on us.


If we hide in our struggles, fears and hardships we create a veneer of perfection. When hurting people approach the church and see only ‘perfect people’ our witness of God’s grace suffers.

When I was young, my family liked a TV show that only ran for one season. “Eerie, Indian,” was about a boy living in “the center of weirdness for the universe.” In one episode, a mother keeps her twins young by having them sleep in Tupperware every night. Creepy, I know.

That picture always stuck with me. How often do we try to Tupperware our lives into perfect.


Why is it so hard to be real? I don’t know, but it is. We want to be strong, beautiful, successful, intelligent, best-of, creative… When really in many moments our lives are un-pin-able. If you read my about page, you can find my story to this place that I stand now. Not perfectly, but in God’s grace and I am thankful. Admitting that we struggle too, is not easy. (I eat candy in a secret corner of my kitchen.)


Life is plague-worthy hard. Some seasons cripple. We struggle. We do not walk around photo-shopped. Sometimes things just are not fair and pain happens.

God uses thes things in our lives, even though that is hard to understand sometimes. One of the strongest ways he uses real is to touch the lives of others. Sharing real deepens our relationships, my closest friendships are those in which I can share my struggles. Even for close friends this is sometimes not easy, but receiving a prayer request or a plea helps my heart grow stronger. I know I’m someone that friend feels comfortable sharing their not-perfect moments with and that is everything to me.


How can you step out of what is easy and share real this week? You can always share here, we’ll understand and pray.

Why do you think sharing your struggles helps those on the edges of the church?