About the Author

Anna is the author of A Moment of Christmas and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul. She's worked at (in)courage since 2012, and lives in Minnesota with her husband and their four kids. Anna encourages others to look for and embrace the extraordinary moments found in their ordinary days.

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  1. God’s goodness shines through His creation with all its gratuitous beauty! Whenever I teach kids about the Genesis 1 story, I admit it–I’d have made one kind of tree, checked that off my list and moved on to “bird” and then”flower”: one of each. (Thanks be to God He is not a list-driven Enneagram 3!)
    Your post makes me want to image God in all His over-the-top goodness that put mitochondria under the hood of our cells so that, one day, some bright eyed scientist could find them and so that Madeleine L’Engle could write about them.

    • “Gratuitous beauty” – I love that! He can be kind of a showoff, with good reason 😉 And your reference to the mitochondria made me smile BIG; that’s one of my favorite books of all time. Thanks for such a fun comment!

  2. Anna,
    Taking our almost 11 year old beagle on walks in the summer is like dragging a ball and chain through the sauna of heat and humidity that is summer in the south, but this time of year, their is a jaunt in his step and in mine too. Give me fall and winter. I can always put layers on, but in the summer there are only so many layers you can take off and remain decent. I love watching the birds come to my feeder. I know the differences between the bright red male cardinals….in fact I give them names. I wholeheartedly agree – look for the little because it’s there that we usually see Christ. The Israelites looked for a great and mighty king so they didn’t look for the little in the manger. So glad God brings us the awe inspiring in that which is often overlooked. Good for you in your persistence in walking. You look (and I’m sure feel) great! Love the doggie hat lol.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  3. This is wonderful! Thank you! I have been determined to get in a better Christmas spirit, as our long term struggles seem to linger longer. While reading I envisioned myself back in the mountains taking a winter hike. It to made my blood pressure drop and my heart rate race. I was told by my Grandfather that if I ever doubted the existence of our Lord to just look up. He was everywhere. It put a new meaning to “keep your chin up.” This morning I am trying to do something I have never done. I have invited women I do not know for coffee in my town! I do hope they come! If not, worst case, I enjoy a cup of coffee alone. Best case, I have good company! Wish me luck!

    • Not sure of the etiquette on these threads, but Andrea, I wish you luck and am praying for your coffee!

    • Andrea,
      What wonderful wise words shared by your Grandfather. I believe they’re true, that the extent of God is so much farther than we can reach, but yet He can reach us anywhere. I hope that all goes well with your coffee date.
      Merry Christmas,

    • Andrea, I love your grandfather’s advice! My blog’s name is Look Up Sometimes (for that very reason) so that struck close to home. How awesome that even in your struggles you are persevering and doing new things! May the Lord sustain you and bless you. How did your coffee get together go?

    • Andrea, I’ve been so curious as to how your coffee gathering went! Please let us know, and know that no matter how many women showed up, you did a BRAVE and BEAUTIFUL thing in inviting!

      • It went well! The first one I had 5 women show up. It was great! I did it again last weekend and one lady came. It was great too. We ended up talking to a couple mom and daughters. The daughters had just gone to Passion in Atlanta last week. We had a great conversation! I am hoping to to do again this weekend. Thank you for checking on me! I really appreciate the replies!!

  4. Anna,
    I loved your words. I too am on a journey of seeking wonder (God’s presence). I have been posting daily on Instagram my quest to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. It is a daily reminder that He is with me through all the challenges I face each day. That perspective helps me feed joy instead of fear.

  5. Anna,

    This time of year can be tough on so many levels. We need to search out His beauty. It is all around us. We need to slow down long enough to behold the artistry & elegance around us. He is a master at making beauty from ashes. Just take a gander at His birth. No big flashy neon signs. Just a young engaged couple obeying God. Birthing Jesus in a manger with smelly animals all around. Yet in the midst of that there is a quiet unassuming attraction that we can ponder in our hearts. He is a master at surprises. Look around you at millions of trees, birds, mountains. So much extavagance. Our church is doing a live nativity complete with sheep. It takes you aback to see it in person & envision what everyone felt back then. Let’s slow down long enough to enjoy His goodness that is around us.

    Blessings 🙂 Merry Christmas & have a blessed New Year!

  6. Thank you Anna. This is the way I see things when I am out and about. It brings joy to my heart and mind. Thank you for sharing this with others so they will be able to begin to see and feel the beauty all around them.

  7. You write beautifully! Down here in South Florida I had a chill walking with you and feeling your journey.

  8. Hello Anna–I also live in Minnesota with two labradors that I love to be outdoors with! I can completely relate. There is something extra special about walks on peaceful winter days. The quiet makes it easier for me to spot God for sure. Thanks for the post and wishing you Merry Christmas.

  9. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork…there is no speech nor language, where their ‘voice ‘ is not heard+.. We love Him because He first loved us .Memorize John 3:16.

  10. What a lovely, heart warming post, Anna. It is so true. God surrounds us with beauty, but we need to look! Our neighbors put lights on their fence this year, and every evening it warms my heart as I take a moment to pause and say a prayer of thanks.

  11. Anna,
    I really enjoyed your thoughtful words. Thank-you for sharing……Yes, if we take the time to look, we will see God’s beauty is all around us, and that kind gestures like the adorned lamp post can be simply some of the best, with the identity known to God and them.
    I hope that you all have a Merry, blessed Christmas,
    Penny

  12. Love this post…and especially that doggie hat .you have encouraged my heart… I am 70 and struggle with Osteo and need to get out and walk. but so cold here -15 yup that was a minus you read…today.. Sooo I THANKYOU for the clothing ideas and the challenge and the spiritual insight and am off to head to Sport Check for those wind pants ..
    Merry Christmas Blessings ..keep looking up to The Light. There is so very much we seem to miss of God’s world that is a blessing.

    • Yes Cheryl — I hear you on the MINUS 15! That’s winter to me! We visited my mother-in-law over Christmas, and the windchills there were in the negative 30’s. I kind of love it 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment. You be careful walking outside, especially if there’s any ice! That’s what I’ve found to be the most problematic, the ice. Sometimes my dog and I both slip and slide on a hidden patch.

      Happy New Year to you!

  13. Anna.. I feel like I went on your walk! How exilerating is your like girl! Thanks for the beautiful reminder that Emmanuel is with us.. everywhere every season. Twenty years ago, I walked in my local park daily.. I enjoyed every minute clearing my mind, figuring out strategies as a single mom for teens… and one cold day someone put birdseed bells and tinsel on a tree we passed by every single day. I added a red ornament and more came.. it stayed dressed until winter winds removed the tinsel and birds finished the bells.. isn’t creation gorgeous? Including that smiley face doggie and your cute self! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  14. Anna, thank you for the reminder to do good even when it might only benefit one. I co-taught a children’s Bible study long ago under the mentorship of an amazing woman who blew me away with her wisdom, cheerfulness, and attitude. She endorsed “going all out” even if there was only one child in our class (and there was one class that consistently only had one), because the point was to hone our teaching skills and do it all for God’s glory. Your post reminded me of her. Thank you for reminding me it’s really God we’re working for. Even if no one else sees or appreciates our efforts He does, and that’s enough.

    • Pearl, I absolutely love that reminder. When I worked at a Bible camp in college our director had the same warning. He would remind us that for each camper, this was their ONE week at camp. It may have been our twelfth week, but it was the only one that camper got. What a brilliant way to frame perspective. Thank you for sharing that with me here!

  15. I was confused how you could see anything when you’re hiking until I remembered that ‘hiking’ in Minnesota is very different from ‘hiking’ in western North Carolina. 🙂
    Wow, though, ” the wonderful fiction book that delighted our heart”, a random line that sort of doesn’t quite seem to fit, made me freeze and look at my computer screen with wide eyes. That a wonderful fiction book is beauty from God just debunked a few lies I’d been believing, because I trust you as being wiser than I am. Thank you, Anna!!