In lieu of a big post in the poverty series tonight, I want to make a couple recommendations.

I encourage you to check out this amazing Ted talk by Chimamanda Adichie. Try to keep a focus on poverty in mind as you listen to Ms. Adichie talk about the power of making decisions based on a single story. I found it challenging and enlightening.

How many people, or groups of people, do we think we know based on a single story?

Also, if you ever have thought about going on a short term mission, or working with people in poverty local to you, I highly recommend reading this book:

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself

This was recommended by a reader, Kristi Smalley, and I am so thankful! What an eye opening read this has been. I've talked about this book before, but I really want to encourage anyone who is serious about working with the poor to take the time to read this book. The authors have done their homework and have actionable suggestions. I plan to use this as a guide as we move forward, especially when we move into the action portion of our series and start talking about what we can do as individuals to address the issue of poverty.

I hope you are having a great week. A new post will be out in the next week for our poverty series. In the mean time, I'll keep posting the smaller mid week posts. I'm enjoying talking with you all more often and I appreciate the engagement and comments!

As always, I encourage you to sign up to follow the blog. Not all posts will make it to your facebook wall, so that's the best way to get a notice of any new posts. If I can get to 50 followers I will give away two copies of the “When Helping Hurts” book in a random drawing from the subscribers!!

Also, a quick update on the birthday give-away. I have three beautiful families all signed up (I couldn't pick one so I picked them all!), and a gorgeous Senior. I would like to find one more Senior – so if you know anyone who just can't afford the expense of Senior piks – shoot me a message @ jgaustin@me.com. For the families – I will be in touch soon! Spring is springing (Finally, well, I am in Georgia right now, so I can just say, it's coming. I think a low of 32 is in store at home…)

Have a great week!

You are an iceberg – you are more than meets the eye. The greatest characteristics of you are hidden deep beneath the waters. I only know but a portion, a small portion, of who you are.

I am an iceberg – I am more than meets the eye. My greatest abilities, secrets and fears lie far beneath the surface.

Everyone you meet, they are an iceberg. There is far more to them than you could ever know – given a lifetime you could not explore to the deepest depths to know there full heart.

We all are an iceberg. We do not know the entirety of our potential. We have not been to the depths of our being – far below the surface.

Our God, He is the ocean. Surrounding us always, in all ways. Knowing us completely.

Only God, the Ocean, only He knows me completely – knows me even better than I know me.

And if God knows both you and I, then maybe we can know each other.



We are studying leadership in our core discipleship group at church and we started with the story of the iceberg. Only 10% of an iceberg is visible – there is another 90% beneath the surface. Unseen. We talked about how the 10% is like the face you show the world, but the 90% is the character behind the face.

I’m excited for this new adventure.



It has been a beautiful Sunday morning. The kids and I are relaxing. Well, I am relaxing and the kids are busy as they always are.

I was reading this morning and came across this perfect quote by Mary Jean Iron, sent to Anne Lamott by Luci Swindoll. (I love the fact that something Mary Jean Iron wrote and Luci Swindoll sent to Anne Lamott is bringing clarity to my day. We really are more connected.)

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”

We will spend this ‘normal day’ cleaning and playing. We will go to church tonight and then tomorrow I will be back on a plane. It’s been a very busy travel season for our family and that can take a toll. It is easy to miss these normal days in exchange for worry about the busy tomorrow, or the hope for the perfect tomorrow.

I found another great post in my morning reading here. She reminds us the life we share online is not the life we live. I think this is important to remember every day. I love writing, but I need to do a better job of living in the present. I love the feeling of ‘flow’ I have when I write. Everything can just disappear and I am fully present with the words. I want to cultivate that feeling and get more of that in my time with Greg and the littles.

I will leave you with this: Gretchen Rubin said, “The days are long but the years are short.” Very true, but so hard to remember in the midst of the long days.

Have a wonderful day. Let’s practice today being fully present with our loves and our littles. If you don’t have a love or a little, then take care and be present with you. God is always there just waiting for your full attention. So, you do have a love, always.


Tonight is just a quick post on serendipity.

I was going through my dad’s pictures tonight.  (Dad sparked my love for photography, and his love began well before digital pictures, so you can imagine the bins and bins of photo’s we have.)

I was looking for a specific picture that I did not find but as I went through boxes I picked up one of his many journals. (Hmmm, he was also a prolific writer…journal upon journal *smile*)  I randomly flipped open to a page and what do you think I read?

An essay on poverty.

Yes, it was.

God can be found in these small moments.  He can whisper in your ear, “I am with you.”  And, if you are listening, you can hear him so clearly.

I never understood when people said they could hear God, but I am hearing him more and more in these small serendipitous moments.  The Spirit wells up and you know that you are walking in the footsteps God painted for you.

It was a calm moment in a busy weekend full of internal storms.  That’s what I beg of my God – calm my inner storms so that I can help calm others.  Cause, really, we all just need to calm down a little.


I’m going to start sharing the most interesting, inspiring, or humorous articles I find throughout the week. Sometimes they may tie into our series on poverty, but more often than not they will be a little mental break. Don’t we need more of those!

I’ve talked about Momastery in the past so I thought I would take a moment to share her post that went viral and really brought her to the front and center of the blog and publishing world.

Don’t Carpe Diem is a great look at the pressure we all put on ourselves, and on one another, to love parenthood – all the time. I love love love parenthood – but there are really hard moments and sometimes they seem to hook arms and come over me in waves…those hard moments. So this post was a breath of fresh air – a moment to exhale. If you are in the throes of parenthood – this may resonate…

Don’t Carpe Diem




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