The Stuff of Life

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The Santa Dilemma @ Inspire a Fire


My post at Inspire a Fire this month is about my experience with Lewis and the question of Santa Claus. You can read the first part here and follow the link to the rest of the story at Inspire a Fire.

The Santa Dilemma – Keeping Jesus at the Center of Christmas

“Mom, is Santa real?” my curious six-year-old asked as I tucked him in and kissed his cheek.

‘Here we go,’ I thought. I took a deep breath and went the history route as I did with his older brothers. Speaking truth, but leaving a little to the imagination.

“Well Lewis, there was a guy who lived a long time ago. He was called Saint Nicholas, and he was a very kind man who gave gifts to the poor and who loved children very much. His kindness is how the story of Santa Claus began.”

“Oh. I didn’t think he was real. Tomorrow I’m going to tell Michael that Santa is really Saint Nicholas, but now Santa is dead.”

Not exactly the response I was anticipating.

It is entirely possible he went to school the next day and attempted to dash the hopes and dreams of his classmates. But I’m pretty sure most children would choose to believe their parents over their classmate with a mohawk, so I didn’t feel too bad.

I take no issue with families who play the Santa game. Who create elaborate schemes to keep their kids believing in the jolly fat guy for years. I can see the fun in it. I just couldn’t do it. When my son asked me point blank, I could not look him in the eye and tell him this guy actually exists.

The rest of the story… The Santa Dilemma

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The Poor and The Prideful


It’s a rare day that I post to this blog anymore, but today I’m linking this up to a story I posted at 500 Dresses yesterday. Much of what I do post here on this blog is about what God is teaching me, and my post over at 500 Dresses definitely fits into that category.

Here’s the link if you want to take a read.

The Poor and The Prideful

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Supporting My Hubby’s Adventurous Side @ Today’s Christian Woman

My latest article published at Today’s Christian Woman today. Below you will find the first few paragraphs and a link to the rest of the story.

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Our living room floor was littered with backpacking gear. As my husband, Corey, calculated each ounce of weight he was adding to his pack, I calculated ways to keep him from leaving.

Who was this guy I married anyway? This man who can’t go a year without either climbing a fourteener in Colorado or canoeing some Buffalo River rapids. This husband who would choose to abandon me for trips that I felt were a waste of time and money.

Each time he planned a new adventure, I grew a little more distant. And a little more cunning. In my mind while he was gone, I would run a hundred scenarios in which I had the opportunity to make him feel inadequate and guilt-ridden.

By the time he arrived home from whatever mountain or river or trail he was exploring, physically exhausted, but spiritually exhilarated, I was a loaded weapon—poised to shoot my ugly words and cold attitude at all the good things this trip gave him.

His “man-trips” brought out the “mean girl” in me. . .

To read the rest head on over to this Today’s Christian Woman link.

Backing His Wild Side

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Something’s Gotta Give

If you are a regular around here, I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting much lately. Sometimes something’s gotta give and right now for me, that is this blog.

In an effort to focus on my freelancing and 500 Dresses, I’ve decided 26 Letters is going to take a back seat for a while.

Querying and article writing take a considerable amount of time and brain power. I’m super-excited about a couple upcoming magazine articles and some soon-to-be published devotions, but after I spend time working on them it seems I don’t have much left in the tank to put together something interesting for this blog.

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500 Dresses is also growing, and I am confident God wants me (and mom) to keep on accepting each new task he drops in our laps. We’ve got enough formal gowns to fill a box for Haiti, we’ve had a number of lightweight sewing machines donated to ship to Haiti and Uganda, and we’ve got lots of sundresses ready to be boxed up too. Plus I’ve got a brand new ministry opportunity to share soon.

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I will be posting regularly over at 500 Dresses, so if you want to keep up with my words (and lots of photos), head on over there and follow us, or find us on facebook.

In addition to freelancing and 500 Dresses, I have three small(ish) boys and one big boy with whom I want to enjoy summer. Between swimming, camping, popsicle eating, smore making, and grandparent visiting I think we’ll stay pretty busy. And I’m sure I’ll spend less time at the keyboard.


I will post something new now and then, but I’m guessing you might rather be out enjoying your summer than hanging around here anyway. 🙂



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A Story About Obedience and A Boy: A guest post



I had the opportunity to write a guest post titled A Story About Obedience and A Boy  yesterday for Alphonsine Imaniraguha over at A Soothing Voice. The story is one some of you have heard, but it is one of those amazing “only God could do this” kind of things. Something I still can’t think about without tears. If you have a few minutes, hop on over to her blog to check it out. And take a look at her ministry, Rising Above the Storms, while you are there.

I’ve known Alphonsine for a couple years and if you have spent a little time on this blog, you are probably familiar with her too. She is allowing God to use her tragic story for his purposes. (If you every have a chance to go hear her speak, do it!)

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500 Dresses

I’m breaking from my Sanctity of Life month guest posts to take part in the Third-Thursday-Thoughts Hearts at Home blog hop. This month’s theme: Love Your Dreams/Goals.

This will not be a super-duper-well-planned post about all my hopes and dreams for the new year because, well, my life is kind of in an upheaval right now. A happy upheaval, but it’s all chaos at the Harms house just the same.

The condensed version of my next few weeks is as follows:

Pack everything and do all the crazy stuff that goes along with selling a house (while continuing all the crazy stuff of normal life.)

Take a 5-day 15th anniversary vacation to sunny Cancun 🙂

Move the day after we return home.

And that, my friends, is what I classify as chaotic. I have learned over the years that there is nothing convenient about selling a house; and if I just keep that perspective the idea of moving out the day after returning from vacation is not quite so overwhelming and maybe even a little humorous. Or a lot humorous depending on how much sleep I’ve had. . .

Instead of sharing personal goals, I’m going to take a moment to plug a ministry my mom and I started several years ago. At 500 Dresses, we make (and collect) and ship dresses and shorts to Haitian children.

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Our goal a couple years ago was to send 500 Dresses to Haiti. We missed that goal by several dozen, but have since sent over 1000 items to the impoverished Caribbean country.

We have also begun supporting Mission to Haiti’s Dorcas Ministry Shop; a bridal/formal gown rental business. We are having lots of fun and plan to just keep doing the next thing God puts in our path.

We’re currently collecting needed items for our spring shipment. We haven’t set any specific goals, but would like to send as many things as possible to the women at the Dorcas Ministry Shop.  We’d be more than happy to take your donations. And if you are local, come hang out with us at Solid Rock Coffee House next weekend. We’d love to see you 🙂 (And you will not regret drinking some of Sara’s coffee. Yum!)

Solid Rock


Fullfill Magazine Story – The Next Thing


God has taught me a lot about doing the next thing and stepping out in obedience over the past few years. And I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to write a part of my story for the most recent issue of Fullfill Magazine. My journey that began by sewing a few dresses with mom and led to teaching sewing classes in Haiti is a fun one to tell. (And I know God isn’t finished with the story yet).

500 Dresses Red Dress

Plus there is something so sweet about seeing this photo in the magazine layout. I’ll never ever forget the little girl with the red hair ribbons holding a dress that my mom made. Mom didn’t know it when she was making it, but I know the red polka-dot dress was meant for this beautiful girl.

I’d love for you to take a look at my story, The Next Thing. (It starts on page 26 of the online magazine.)

And while you are there, check out the rest of magazine. It’s filled with great stuff, including a terrific article on forgiveness on page six, by Suzie Eller, who God used as a catalyst to show me the direction he wanted me to go. Who knew when we sat down to lunch together at a summer writer’s conference that she would be such a blessing in my life! She has been a source of encouragement to me, and I the awesome opportunity to be a guest and talk about 500 Dresses on her radio show Encouragement Cafe earlier this year.