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For Those Who Run and Those Who Don’t


I used to view marathons though the lens of two categories: the people who run them and the people who don’t.   I happen to fall in the latter but I love watching marathons.  You’ll find me hanging out with the other “don’ts” cheering while happily drinking coffee and eating doughnuts.

Simone Halpin runs marathons.  She’s legit.  She’s also a wife, mother of three, director of women’s care at Moody Church and through that role has been working to launch Naomi’s House a residential home for women who have suffered sexual exploitation and trafficking.  The home (scheduled to open in 2016) will offer hope and healing through recovery, residential living, and reintegration, all centered on the transforming grace of Jesus.

I spoke with her just a few days before the Chicago Marathon last week and asked the obvious question- Are you ready for Saturday? Her response was something like:

Ready or not, I’m running anyway.

Pray for me, she added.

Continue reading For Those Who Run and Those Who Don’t

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Rooted Chicago & Working the Plan, Watching the Plan

worship2To carry out a vision it’s good to have a plan.

Let me tell you about my relationship with plans.  Almost every Sunday night in our home, my husband and I go through the usual pre-bedtime shenanigans with kids, tuck them in as early as possible, and come downstairs to close out the weekend with an exciting Hamstra Family Calendar Sync.  Full disclosure, we even have a motto: “Make the plan, work the plan.”  I’m sorry to disappoint if you were under the impression that we are fun or cool in any way.

On the organizational spectrum I lean more “free spirit” than “calendar sync-er” so a couple years ago Sunday nights were challenging (read: boring) for me.

Me: “Are we done yet? Do we have to sit at the table? Can I at least go get a snack?”

Husband: “Are you sure you’re a grown up?”

I like spontaneity, going with the flow.  Initially, mapping out our week (and sometimes month, the horror) seemed tedious, but as our little life got more involved and schedules more complex, I’ll admit it was incredibly helpful.  “Making the plan working the plan” allowed us to head confidently into a new week knowing what was ahead and what had to get done.

Continue reading Rooted Chicago & Working the Plan, Watching the Plan


Sitting down with Bianca Juarez Olthoff


In February I had a chance to meet up with Bianca Juarez Olthoff and talk a little bit about who she is, the work she does and why she’s excited to be speaking at Rooted Chicago.

The vision of Rooted Chicago is that women would be mobilized to live and lead confidently and intentionally from wherever they are.  The work that Bianca does with the A21 Campaign and Propel Women aligns so well with this vision and we can’t wait to have her join us May 9.  You can find out more about her at

“…In boardrooms, or in workplaces, or in Target, or with your kids in your living room- What does it look like to fulfill the purpose, the calling and destiny that God has put in your life where you are, and to be his hands and feet in the community?”

Continue reading Sitting down with Bianca Juarez Olthoff

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Interrupted with Jen Hatmaker

Four weeks, ladies.

That’s the amount of time and space between you and me and hundreds of other women coming together at Rooted Chicago to seek depth, clarity, and lives lived with greater purpose.  Who’s ready?

In part two of my interview with Jen Hatmaker, she talks about her bookInterrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity.”  Interrupted is a story of how a nagging feeling and a simple prayer for God to “raise up a holy passion” messed everything up, in a good way.  The discovery that she and her family were checking all the right boxes yet still living off-mission was racially undoing, yet became remarkably freeing.  In the following clip she expands on what it looks like to show people the church rather than just inviting them to one.


“If the gospel is good news to all then it’s not just an idea to consider, a time slot on a Sunday,  or a task assigned to a select few–

It’s a life to live.  And it’s bigger than all of us.”

-Interrupted, page 136

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Why IF is for Her

photo (24)Sometimes it begins with the prayer of one woman and God turns “mustard seed faith” into a big number with a bunch of zeros.

The ripple effect of the IF:Gathering has been incredible as an estimated 2,000 women attended in Austin, TX, and about 60,000+ screens live-streamed the event to thousands of local gatherings of women.  The actual numbers become hard to track but let’s just go with hundreds of thousands.  It began two years ago with a dream intended for a group in Austin and grew into a weekend made available for living rooms, coffee shops, kitchens, churches, and theaters all over the world.
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IF:Chicago…my friends Deb and Patty actually live in this beautiful space.  I just pretend I do.

The IF:Gathering is more than a reoccurring event, it’s more than tallying numbers, it’s a movement which is what drew me to it in the first place.  The vision is to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose. Continue reading Why IF is for Her

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Rooted Chicago and a Trip to Austin

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Last week I boarded a plane to Austin, TX, and the next day I was sitting with Jen Hatmaker on her living room couch. #averagefriday

What is happening here?  Let me back up by making an announcement:

On May 9, 2015, Re:Source Global is hosting its first-ever women’s event “Rooted Chicago: Fewer. Deeper. Grounded.”  We are thrilled to have Jen as one of our speakers, and this interview was a tremendous opportunity to talk through what we hope to accomplish when we gather 600 women under one roof.  What I appreciate about Jen is that she has a powerful way with words, both writing them and speaking them.  Also, she loves Jesus.  A lot.  She approaches life with a balance of “This is urgent, people” and “Everybody just RELAX” (paraphrasing) and somehow makes it work.  Her message is one that has you taking inventory of your life with an ever-present reminder of the grace that covers us all.  As I re-read some of her stuff on the flight to Austin, I was simultaneously laughing and crying…what a mess.

Fortunately for you (and maybe unfortunately for me as I have done ZERO filmed interviews in the history of my life) Stephen Smith and Scott Brignac of Houston, TX, did a great job filming our discussion and will be posting it here on the blog in the coming weeks!

If you didn’t already know, Jen is a pastor’s wife, blogger, best-selling author, national speaker and recently launched her family’s own reality shows My Big Family Renovation and Your Big Family Renovation on HGTV.  Fun fact about the interview: Right out of the gate I was listing her many roles and asked if she was now a “reality show guru.”  I probably haven’t said the word “guru” in 5 years but that was the noun my brain chose right then…Really, Brain? What happened? I thought we were friends. Continue reading Rooted Chicago and a Trip to Austin