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Beauty in Brokenness: The World Breaks Everyone

March 4, 2014

Adelle Gabrielson

The World Breaks Everyone

“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.”

~Ernest Hemingway

They say that after a bone is broken, when it heals, it is stronger at the site of the break.

When Gabe is making things form wood out in the garage, he’s told me before that the joints held together by glue are stronger than the wood itself. The wood will break before the joint will.

We all break. This world, it will break us. Hell happens here on earth and it happens every day. We will be disappointed. We will suffer. We will all know grief.

And yet…

When healing happens, when we allow the healing to happen, the seam that remains can become our source of strength.

We so often try to hide these seams, these cracks in our armor. We see them as flaws, and hide, trying to masquerade behind a facade that…

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Visit My New Site!

April 5, 2013

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President’s Day Trivia and a Big Announcement!

February 18, 2013


Happy Presidents’ Day!

While today is nice to sleep in, have a day off of school and work (for some), and enjoy a three-day weekend, it really is to recognize all U.S. Presidents. So I thought it would be fun to have some trivia questions. How many of these do you know?

1. When did the U.S. begin celebrating Presidents’ Day?

2. How does the Senate traditionally celebrate Presidents’ Day?

3. Which President had a special chair for his dog during cabinet meetings?

4. Was George Washington’s teeth really made of wood?

5. Who was the first bachelor to be President? Who was the first divorcee?

6. Who was the shortest and tallest President?

7. Which President has the most children?

8. Which President’s daughter held her prom in the White House?

9. Who was a bartender before becoming President?

10. Who was the first President’s wife to be photographed in a bathing suit?

How did you do? Check your answers:

1. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 established the third Monday of February each year as Presidents’ Day.

2. The Senate traditionally reads George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address. This tradition began during the Civil War to boost morale.

3. Warren G. Harding had a special chair for Laddie Boy, an Airedale Terrier.

4. No! They were made of gold, ivory, lead, and human and animal teeth.

5. James Buchanan was the first unmarried man in office; Ronald Reagan was the first divorced man.

6. James Madison was the shortest at 5’ 4” and Abraham Lincoln was the tallest at 6’ 4”.

7. John Tyler had 15 children! (Eight children from his first wife, and seven from his second wife.)

8. Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan, held her senior prom in the White House in 1975.

9. Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender and co-owner of Berry and Lincoln Saloon in Springfield, Illinois.

10. Eleanor Roosevelt was the first to be photographed in a bathing suit!



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©2011- 2013 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

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What Do You Do When You Just Can’t? (Part 3)

February 15, 2013

Happy Friday!

Welcome back to the last of this week’s 3-part series, “What Do You Do When You Just Can’t?” Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

 On Monday I asked the question:

What do you do when you can’t seem to do … anything? When everyday life is a struggle because you feel like you’re sinking through mountains of sand in the middle of the desert alone? Here’s the last two ways I’ve been navigating through the desert:

3. Depend on Your “Dump” Friends

I have a friend in Ohio that I call my “dump” friend. That means that she is the type of friend who will let me just dump my kids off when I need to! I told her, “It’s not just any friend I can dump my kids off to—you’re my dump friend.” When I needed someone to take care of my girls while we were involved in funeral arrangements for my grandfather, my dump friend was there. I took my kids to her house and, honestly, I’m not sure if I had fed them breakfast or if they had their teeth brushed! I could barely function, but my friend took my kids, fed them, bathed them, and totally took care of them. For once, I didn’t worry about them; I just knew my dear friend would handle it.

We all need those friends who love you enough to see you through the tough times. Friends who insist on bringing you a meal when you need it. Friends who email and text and leave voice mails, just to remind you that they are praying for you. Friends who take in your kids, or run errands for you, or sit with you while you cry.

When you’re in a desert place, the thing you have to do is say yes when friends want to do something for you. Take them up on offers. Accept their practical ways to help. Know that these kinds of friends aren’t looking for pay backs. They just wanna love on you!

Who is your “dump” friend?

The Lord Stood With Me

4. Let God Be Your Strength

The only prayer I could utter each morning was, “Lord, give me Your strength.” I had none of my own. I desperately needed God’s strength. The good thing was that my faith was still strong. I didn’t waver, even though I wasn’t flourishing in Bible study every day. Many who are in a desert place have dwindling faith. So I thank God that I wasn’t questioning Him or His power or plan.

God led me to a passage to affirm me during this time. I turned to 2 Timothy—which is strange, because I usually turn to Psalms for encouragement during desperate times. Not 2 Timothy! But God whispered these words to me:

“The Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” (2 Timothy 4:17, HCSB)

Before flipping to this passage, I had just uttered these words: “Lord, You are gonna have to stand right beside me and give me strength, because I just can’t do this today.”

So He said, “Okay, I am.”

Wow. Amazing. Awesome.

This is going to be my daily prayer, through good times and bad!

Do you need God to stand beside you and give you strength today? Claim the promise of 2 Timothy 4:17!

I’ll bounce back—I know I will. Writing this post helps. At least I’m taking the plunge and writing after a long hiatus! Have you ever experienced times of being in the “desert” where you feel empty and lost? What do you do to make it back to a place of fullness and abundance?

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©2011- 2013 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

What Do You Do When You Just Can’t? (Part 2)

February 13, 2013

Welcome back!

This is Part 2 of 3 of the series “What Do You Do When You Just Can’t?” If you missed Part 1, check it out here.

On Monday I asked the question:

What do you do when you can’t seem to do … anything? When everyday life is a struggle because you feel like you’re sinking through mountains of sand in the middle of the desert alone?

The last month I’ve felt like I’m in the desert–my creativity is dried up, and it feels like I’m just sinking in the sand, going nowhere. But God, as always, is gracious and has taught me a few things that continue to pull me through. Here’s the first two lessons:

1. Do the Next Thing

A dear friend gave me this simple advice. It has been the most useful four words. Do the next thing. When you feel like you can’t go on … do the next thing. I’d wake up and think “What now?” Then I’d remember the words, Do the next thing. So I would get up. Do the next thing. Then I’d take a shower. Do the next thing. Then I’d get the girls ready for school. Do the next thing. Then I’d finish an assignment.

Get the picture?

This is how I got through each day for weeks. Just by doing what came next. At first I was so empty I couldn’t think of how to survive each day. I didn’t have my usual to-do lists and schedules and jam-packed agendas. Thinking of only the “next thing” helped me to only do what was necessary—what I had to get done. I’d pray, “Lord, what’s the next thing?” And He’d show me.

If only I’d function like this every day, then I could accomplish exactly what was next on God’s to-do list instead of mine. At first, this was my method of survival; then, it became a spiritual encounter of being in-sync with God’s plan for me each moment of the day.

What’s your next thing to do?


2. Depend on the Prayers of Others

When I felt empty of everything, I didn’t even have words to pray. This is the time I had to rely on my precious friends to pray me through. Isaiah 40:31 carried new meaning for me—I felt like I was soaring on wings of eagles, and the eagles were my prayer warrior friends.

The ironic thing is, January was supposed to be the “month of prayer” for my family. I worked hard over Christmas break to look up verses on prayer and lists of people, things, and countries to pray for. Our Advent Tree worked so well for family devotions during December. Even though it looked “Christmassy,” I thought we’d continue to use it each month for family devotions. I came up with a theme for each month, a Bible verse for each day, and a prayer challenge for each day. I was so organized and ahead of the game! January was going to teach us how to pray and give us the opportunity to pray for everyone and everything I could think of.

But we never even did one devotion!

Instead of learning how to be prayer warriors, we learned how to survive on the prayers lifted up by others. Letting others pray for you is humbling. But then you learn that your very survival depends on those precious words others pray.

Then you become grateful, appreciative, thankful.

Someday, I can be that prayer warrior for others. This month, I needed to rest mercifully in the prayers of others.

Is this a time you are resting in the prayers of others or are you the prayer warrior for someone who desperately needs it?

Have you been through a “desert” experience? Please share your thoughts and encouragement with us!

Join me for Part Three on Wednesday!

Image courtesy of Jeff Ratcliff /

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©2011- 2013 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

What Do You Do When You Just Can’t? (Part 1)

February 11, 2013


Is it really February already?

I’ve had a loooong hiatus from my blog. Sorry, friends!

Where has this year gone? 2013 is definitely not turning out to be what I envisioned. I had plans for 2013—personally and professionally. My motto this year was “No Excuses!” Then my grandfather passed away. It was somewhat anticipated, so I thought I’d handle it fine. I did. For a while.

Then I didn’t.

Getting back to everyday life was difficult. How do you go on when your heart hurts? But kids and work and bills and laundry don’t wait—life has to go on. So life went on.

But I found myself in a desert. Dried up. Empty. Lost. No energy. No creativity. No oomph. No nothing.

What do you do when you just can’t?

When you can’t seem to do … anything? When everyday life is a struggle because you feel like you’re sinking through mountains of sand in the middle of the desert alone?


I’m an introvert anyway. A thinker and a writer. Not too much of a talker. Even when there isn’t much for me to say, there are millions of thoughts pouring out my brain onto paper.

But not when I’m in a desert.

I usually have little notebooks everywhere—in my purse, in my car, by my bed, in the bathroom—to capture the thoughts and the creativity that strike me at so many times during the day wherever I am.

I’m not used to not being able to write. Not used to NOT having creativity. I don’t like it. Hate it, in fact. Writing is like breathing. If I can’t write, I can’t breathe. And right now I am suffocating.

What do you do when just can’t? When something seems so big or is just too much? When you feel so depleted that you can’t be who you are? When you know this feeling won’t last forever, but it’s lasting longer than you’ve ever hoped?

I haven’t made it through the desert. I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned a few things over the past month. Come back for Part 2 on Wednesday as I share the first two ways I’m surviving in the desert …. and if you’ve been through a “desert” experience, please share your thoughts and encouragement with us!

Join me for Part Two on Wednesday! 

©2011- 2013 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of James Barker /

Wrapping up CHRISTmas

January 8, 2013

I’ve waited as long as I can stand it to take down the Christmas tree and all the décor. This is the saddest sight of the entire year: an empty tree in January.


There is such a build up once December begins. Not only all the fun stuff, like shopping, baking, decorating, but also all of the precious times leading up to Jesus’ birth. We embraced nightly family devotions with the Advent Tree—reading Scriptures every night. The girls loved it! After bath time and before bedtime, they couldn’t wait to run to the tree, open the door, and see what verse they pulled out. We read verses from the Old and New Testament, and it was also a good way for the girls to find verses in the Bible.

December 26 came and the devotions stopped. We were wrapped up in all the gifts, exhausted from the holiday rush, and weighed down by all the sugary goodies devoured over the previous weeks.  Somehow, Baby Jesus, who for 25 days had all of the focus, was forgotten.

Then we put away the nativity. I carefully wrapped up Baby Jesus, shepherds, wise men, Mary, and Joseph in bubble wrap. They seemed nearly magical when I set them up so properly weeks before. Now they seemed ordinary, mundane.

I felt the quiet nudge of God. Don’t forget. Don’t wrap up Jesus along with everything of Christmas.


That’s what we do, isn’t it? Well, that’s what I tend to do. So much energy, focus, attention, and planning go into the first several weeks of December as I gear up for Christmas. Then, I pop like an overdone soufflé. I’m done. Tired. Just plain over it.

This year, don’t do it. Don’t pack away Jesus along with all of the Christmas decorations. Don’t become “over it.” Keep up the family devotions, keep singing songs about Baby Jesus, keep focusing on His birth and His life.

I want to “seek first the kingdom of God” this year. I don’t want Jesus to become ordinary or mundane. I don’t want my kids to think we focus on Him 25 days of the year and then again for a few days at Easter. I want Jesus to be their focus all year long, each day, every day.

I’ve taken down the tree, wrapped up the lights, and put away the nativity. But hopefully this year we won’t tuck away Jesus, too.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

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