Real life takes real stories — INVITATION


Trigger words.

They are lauded and lofted as the things that make community work.
Rightly so.
These are needed and craved by human hearts.

But the words.
They trigger.
Our fear.
Our past hurts.
Our current insecurities.

These words play red-rover with our hearts and minds since we are both wired for flight in unsafe scenarios and wired to need connection.

Connection and having a home for your heart is important to me.

It is part of chasing hope.

The hope that as I laugh and cry, dance and bleed, sing and silence in front of you, here, on this blog each Friday in the Love Strong Chronicles, that you will find parts of your story come alive. That you will lean into people near you and share your story. That you will spill across the internet with your big bad bold self and own your passion. That you will heal and arise, that you will do good work where you can, and that you will never give up.

Chase hope with me.
Share your story.

The one you lived last week or the one from decades past.

The one you are proud of and the one you trying to free from shame in.

Friend, I am convinced, that in the sharing of stories–
the story of my life,
the unleashing of yours,
the listening and learning of what real is,
that connections and community will be birthed and our hearts will be of great hope.

Story sharers– We will become a more humble strong, a more resilient courage, and a more active surrendering people.

I am excited to join with places like (in)courage, an online community that has gone got their boots on to hit the floor of our hearts and raise our eyes to community anew.

I am honored to be a part of their 2014 (in)Real Life Conference this April 25 & 26. This is a conference comes to you, right where you do your life.

This FREE conference takes the time to share how real life takes real stories.

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Meet our crew of speakers HERE.

Check out the agenda and register HERE.

So consider this your invitation if you haven’t gotten one already.

Your thing? Join in!

Not your thing? Give it a try.

Not a woman? You know one, right?

Not sure your friend was invited? Get on that!

This isn’t a conference of saints or uncontrollable sobbing, but it is of those who hope and those who will lift emotions to the light of day as stories chase and rest in beautiful truths our hearts need to hear.

And, did I mention, we need YOUR story. We invite you, share life with us a while.

Join us in a month.

Feel free to learn more by visiting the Twitter party tonight at 9 pm EST by searching for the hashtag #inRL or zipping me an email.

If you are in the Twin Cities, I will be hosting in my home Friday night and joining a meet up in Edina on Saturday. You are welcome to join me at either or both places.

In real life…


Monday Mutterings: Underneath the Veil–The Muslim Inside of Me


Bangladesh: 150 Million people, about the same size as Wisconsin (or Greece), 86% of the people follow Islam. 16 million Bangladeshis live in the capital city of Dhaka.

Point of reference, 314 million people live in the entire United States, 8 million of them live in New York City.

Some of you may not be able to locate Bangladesh on the map, more of you would be hard pressed to list any historical or cultural facts about my birth country. This doesn’t bother me.

Religiously speaking, there are nearly 1 million Muslim women in the United States. According to Pew Research, the women are split nearly in half of whether they chose to wear their head veils and coverings (hijab) and so to the outsider, not all Muslim women are recognizable.

But, here in Minneapolis, those who are physically distinctive as practicing Muslims are everywhere. I get my groceries with Muslims, buy my clothes from them, my children sit and play with their children at the library and playground; diversity is beautiful really. Coming from a fairly homogenous evangelical community for the vast majority of my life, it is refreshing in an inexplicable way.

Seeing Muslims make me think about the life I have lived. Through dramatic events over many months, my American-Dutch Christian parents finally welcomed me into their West Michigan home 29 years ago. Military Coups and martial law in Bangladesh made the exact timing my folks were adopting me extremely difficult for them and those facilitating the process. From Former President Gerald Ford to Mother Teresa, some big players advocated for the release of orphans to loving homes outside the country. Thankfully, Bethany Christian Services and the Sisters of Notre Dame worked tirelessly until their first 19 babies left the tumultuous country, only a decade into Bangladesh’s independent country status.

I was one of them.

The same statement crosses my mind every time I interact with Muslims here in the Twin Cities. I was one of them. My adoption “placement” along with upbringing and community allowed me to be submerged into the Christian faith, but I am hopeful for the “placement” I now have.

I have deep respect for the community I just moved from, but guess what? I have landed in a place where the nations, cultures, and beliefs meet and the opportunity is not lost on me. I am not here to save the world; I have never been one for traditional evangelism models. I am here to listen to people as Jesus would. The opportunity to share in conversations and movements of people in a number of faiths who have voices like I do is exciting to me.

Maybe it is time I do more listening and loving.

The journey, both geographically and spiritually, may ask the Christian me be more aware of the Muslim inside.

I can still call Christ-followers to live as HIS (honest, intelligent, servants) and bring practices of my faith–the fruits of the Spirit–to the streets. Yet, underneath the veil, I am very open to allowing my heritage build bridges my experiences never could.

And friends, I have seen this evidenced in others. You may be something else now, but perhaps what you were or could have been is the road that allows you to listen and speak life to others.

Think about what is under your veil…

To learn more about Bangladesh, please visit Sarah Siddiqi’s (Founder and CEO of “Experience Bangladesh”) website here

New hashtags I will be using more often on Twitter. Follow @nfynewever

#conversationsmatter #letmelearnfromyou