Comfort in the Night

by Rachel Oliver on July 24, 2014

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My little girl woke up at eleven last night crying. As I lifted her from the crib, she curled her tiny frame up against mine, nestling her head in the crook of my neck. She calmed immediately. As I rocked her back to sleep, I was overcome with the realization that my mere presence brings [...]


Free to Dance

by Elizabeth Mattick on July 23, 2014

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They were incredibly beautiful. Eight precious soon-to-be 1st grade girls, from different economic backgrounds and varying shades of skin tones, wearing stick-on mustaches, dancing and singing and swaying their arms until they collapsed into a heap of giggles. My fellow teachers and I just smiled at each-other, snickered a little, shook our heads and threw [...]


Free to Consider Questions

July 22, 2014
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I make pretty things from wine, and from wine corks. It’s become my “stay at home part time job.” Jellies, jewelry, wreaths, and wall ornaments…they are all things I enjoy putting together in my down time and  my “pretties” have been helpful when it comes to paying off debt. I named my little cottage business [...]

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Free to Be Enough

July 21, 2014
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Last week I read a great book. You know the kind; it resonates true in your guts. We nod our heads in affirmation while reading, wishing we’d been able to string those words together in exactly the same way. Even though the book was written with teenage girls in mind, I believe many of the [...]

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Nameless…Noah’s Wife

July 20, 2014
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Noah’s wife and children made it onto the boat. I think that speaks volumes into the silence. While she is mentioned five times in Genesis 6-8. Neither her name nor family is mentioned. There are many legends and traditions but the Bible is silent. Noah, like Job, was singled out among men for his righteousness. [...]

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BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enough: 10 Things We Should Be Telling our Teenage Girls

July 19, 2014
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Have you ever had something you needed to get off your chest so badly it burned your guts until you were able to get it all out?  Reading Kate Conner’s new book Enough: 10 Things We Ought to Be Telling Our Teenage Girls is exactly this experience, only instead of venting and leaving the mess [...]

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Free to have faith

July 18, 2014
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Her eyes are often unfocused when I visit her. The room is always dark, the curtains closed or the lights turned down to keep out the bright. She tilts her head toward her shoulder in that coy little way she has and she smiles. There is no need for artificial light when Rachel is around. [...]

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Bathing Suit Shopping

July 17, 2014
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Summer comes with all sorts of good things. There’s camp for the kiddos, long days with a good book for me, and a handful of roadtrips scattered across the whole family. There’s also bathing suit shopping. This does not count as a good thing. I was optimistic this year. I’ve lost more than thirty pounds [...]

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In the Middle of Summer

July 16, 2014
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There are countless quizzes online that will tell you everything you could possibly need to know about yourself, from what color best represents you to who’s your celebrity BFF. (FYI, Taylor Swift and I are totally kindred spirits.) Whenever they ask “What’s your favorite season?” I pause. My favorite season changes with the seasons. In December, it’s [...]

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Free to Choose my Labels

July 15, 2014
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We were sitting in Cracker Barrel waiting on our meals, when I realized my middle child was becoming seriously upset over that little golf tee game that is at every table. Here is what he was so upset over.   On his fourth attempt, he still had not figured out how to leave fewer than [...]

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Free to be Salty

July 14, 2014
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I haven’t always been the person I am today. Ten years ago while reading and researching about health and foods, I was convinced to become a vegetarian. Four years ago, while investigating organization and simplicity, I encountered the concept of minimalism. Lately, I am drawn more and more to participate in authentic life as community. [...]

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Nameless… Job’s Wife

July 13, 2014
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“Curse God and die” This is what we most often hear about Job’s wife. I have said it myself but perhaps she deserves a second look. It is difficult to remember that neither she nor Job were aware of the supernatural testing that was going on around them. She lost everything he did and yet [...]

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Family, Community, and a Free Episode of Adventures in Odyssey

July 12, 2014
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As a child of the 80′s and 90′s I grew up loving Adventures in Odyssey and it’s something I’m so glad I can share with my kids. Even though they are now almost 11 and 14 they still love listening to it. Right now Middle Places is excited to be a part of the media [...]

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Free to be Ripped Open

July 12, 2014
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Weighty thoughts have been tumbling in my heart for a few months now. Ever since I wrote about “Removing the Plastic,” I have read and read about the church growing hands and feet, moving into action. I have been soaking up Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker, and Radical by David Platt. I’ve imagined being out among [...]

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On tips and grace

July 11, 2014
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The gentleman hands me the credit card receipt he has just signed and we chat for a moment before he and his wife leave. I glance down and see he has given me a $15 tip. I immediately want to chase him down and ask him why. Why so much? What compels your generosity? It’s [...]

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I Was Prepared to Be Offended

July 10, 2014
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I finished high school and decided I wasn’t done learning, so off I went to a Christian liberal arts college. I stuffed my head all kinds of knowledge about accounting, business, computer programming, history, grammar, literature and math while I was there. What I didn’t learn was how to be independent. Most of my choices [...]

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Follow the Yellow Brick Circles

July 9, 2014
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Have you ever paid close attention to the movie, The Wizard of Oz? If you haven’t, you should. There are lots of easily missed spiritual life concepts hiding among the bright colors. One that struck me particularly while watching it with my two year old, was the start of the yellow brick road. First, there [...]

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Free to be Beautiful

July 8, 2014
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I noticed her immediately as she showed up to the pool with her two grandkids and a load of floats, pool toys, and sunscreens. She was about 60, maybe 65. She was plump and round. Her  salt and pepper hair was coarse and unstyled. She wore a magenta one piece swimsuit with a “skirt” that [...]

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Free to Feel how I Feel

July 7, 2014
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I’ve been sad for over two years. I’m not exclusively sad or obviously sad, but if I am honest with myself, underlying everything for the last few years is a minor chord, a muted sad strain, even when I’m laughing or enjoying friends or snuggling a wiggly puppy, I can still feel sorrow brushing at [...]

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HE must increase but I must decrease

July 6, 2014
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But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  ~ Isaiah 43:1 These days parents are pressured, moments after birth, to have a name ready. That name is immediately recorded [...]

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