Like a Jar of Expensive Perfume


Recently my nine-year-old son Rowan, a beginner violist, attempted to tune his instrument before performing a Christmas “concert” for his grandparents. After an hour of fruitless fiddling and many frustrated tears, Rowan finally allowed my dad to call a local music shop for help. They found someone willing to squeeze them in that afternoon.

Two hours later Rowan burst through the front door with a tuned viola. “The guy even did it for free!” he exclaimed, as he rosined the bow and prepared to play.

Later I learned that the music store employee had refused to accept payment for the tuning, but my dad had handed him a ten-dollar bill anyway, “just to say thanks.” The employee had gone out of his way, my dad pointed out, and had been generous with his time just two days before Christmas, on undoubtedly one of his busiest days of the year.

…I’m writing about the gift of money over at The High Calling as part of their week’s series on Paying Well. Will you join me over there for the rest of this story? 



Go Forth and Mark Up Your Bible {My Faith Heroine series}

Sandra Heska King has the biggest heart of just about anyone I know – how blessed I am to have spent time with her in person! But even if your path never crosses with Sandy’s face-to-face, you can see and experience the light she shines in the words she pens so beautifully on her blog (my favorite is her Still Saturday series – don’t we all need a little more stillness in our lives?). Just last week Sandy returned from the Dominican Republic, where she traveled on behalf of Compassion International, an organization that sponsors children in need world-wide. Please take a few minutes today to read about her experiences and the beautiful people she met there. And perhaps consider sponsoring a Compassion child too? I am delighted to welcome Sandy to the blog today!


Story and Photo by Sandra Heska King

I’m sitting in the balcony of the church in Marietta, Georgia, and I’m unrolling my “homework,” my butcher paper art–the entire book of Revelation, colored pictures on a scroll. And we stretch it out and down the row, and she looks up and nods and applauds. Nine months we live in that book, and she carries me from “In the beginning” to the last “Amen.”

That’s the last year she drives weekly from Chattanooga. So we gather friends and organize a Romans study in our church. And I can’t get enough.

We’re called to move to a new home in Tampa, and I fight it. But I find DeeDee, and she’s got me leading a Precept group there. Then I’m sitting in the airport hugging Kay.

I’m in Chattanooga at the “ranch” taking notes on Philippians and memorizing the humility verses. She’s describing the crucifixion, and a storm is blowing, and it seems like the lights go out for a moment, but I can’t remember for sure. Maybe everything goes dark just before the light blazes.

The air presses in on me, and I can’t breathe.

She teaches me how to uncover treasure for myself, to test what others tell me.

Once she shook her fist in God’s face and hissed, “To hell with you God.” Now she crams colored pencils in my fist and says (basically), “Go forth, and mark up your Bible. Get to know the God who went to hell for you.”

Kay 11

The words become life to me. My home and my hope are here in these pages.

She teaches me about lists and comparisons and contrasts and color-coding and verb tenses and moods and voices and how to make my own chain references and how to study from a Bible without notes–because the Holy Spirit alone can teach me.

And my Bible falls apart.

She teaches me about God’s character and His sovereignty and oh, how that’s held me through so many questions and regrets.

She teaches me how to live, how to be silver refined, how to make the bitter sweet, how to battle disappointment, about tetelestai and tiqvah.

She’s a nurse, too, so I feel an extra special bond. She calls me a co-laborer, and she assures me that nothing I do in the Lord is in vain.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. ~2 Corinthians 15:58

I dream of walking with her in the Holy Land, hearing her teach from the places Jesus walked and talked and prayed and rested–and died. And I pray for the miraculous provision of finances that will let me do this while she and I both can.

Kay Arthur, co-founder of Precept Ministries International, is my faith heroine, and I thank God for her and for the love of the Word she birthed in me, for how she’s helped me learn how to know God.

And one more thing. She’s 81 years old now and looks at least 20 years younger. I want to keep drinking the same water.


SandraHeskaKing2Sandra Heska King (AKA Snady AKA SHK) lives in Michigan and writes from a 150-plus-year-old family farmhouse set on 60-plus acres surrounded by corn or soybeans or sometimes wheat. She’s a camera-toting, recovering doer who’s learning to just. be. still.

Sandra blogs at and sometimes spills words in other places across the Internet. She’s a “poetry barista” (AKA social media associate) at Tweetspeak Poetry and has been a featured writer at The High Calling. You can catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

This post is part of the My Faith Heroine Series in conjunction with the release of 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith. Click here to read other posts in the #MyFaithHeroine series. 


When Paying Goes Beyond the Issue of Money


“Whoa!” my nine-year-old son Rowan gasped, leaning forward to get a closer look at the meter. “We’ve already spent five dollars, and we haven’t even started driving yet!” I leaned across my two kids in the backseat and whispered to my husband what our friend had told us the night before. “Remember, we don’t need […]

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When Grief Gives Way to Joy {#FightBackWithJoy}


Peals of laughter and a chorus of squeals drifted from the living room into the kitchen, where I stood with my hands in a sink full of dirty dishes.  Heaviness rested on my chest like an x-ray apron as I methodically rinsed each plate and bent to place it in the dishwasher. Even the most […]

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The Person Who Points You North {My Faith Heroine Series}


Many of you already know Kris Camealy. Maybe you’ve already read the words she pens so brilliantly and passionately on her blog. Or you’ve read her Lent devotional book,Holey, Wholly, Holy. Or you’ve crossed paths with her on Facebook and knew immediately that she is someone special. That’s Kris. She’s been an incredible encouragement to me these […]

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That Time I Rejected the Word God Chose for Me


I typically love the start of the new year – a new beginning, a clean slate, a fresh start. I pencil a dozen resolutions into my journal (hardly any of which I’ll keep). I clean the linen closet and organize the junk drawer. I cart bags and boxes of donated shoes, purses, clothes, dishes and […]

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When God’s Not in Your Plan A…Or Your Plan B

Holmes Lake Ice

I’ve been thinking a lot about obedience lately. In the conclusion to 50 Women Every Christian Should Know I wrote that obedience is the thread that ties all fifty women together across diverse time periods, geography and personal circumstances. “Circumstances don’t matter nearly as much as obedience,” I wrote in the afterword of the book, “because God […]

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Weekend One Word: Known


Joy, peace and grace, friends…May you know that you are known and loved.   Sign up to receive posts by email {and get 3 free chapters from my book, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know!}

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Leaning into Fear {My Faith Heroine Series}


Oh how I love this woman. I first met Kimberly Coyle three years ago (or has it been four?!) when we roomed together at the She Speaks conference in North Carolina. We called it She Freaks because we were both so unhinged over the idea of pitching our book proposals to agents and editors face-to-face for the first […]

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How to Know If You Still Love What You Love


So I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and publishing over the last couple of months, because, you know, I almost quit the whole darn thing and all. Thankfully the time and space away from my computer gave me the opportunity to stop hiving and hyperventilating for a few minutes, take some deep breaths and figure out […]

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