What I'm Into & An Update

by Andrea Kolber

Hello, dear reader!

I'm trying my hand at something new today. I'm sharing some of my favorite (recent) books and other lovely things. And at the end, I'd love to give you a (big, exciting) update on what's new with me. 


Are you like me? Do you drool over beautiful script? My dear friend, Kristie, recently started her own business called "Write It On Your Walls." I've known Kristie since way back in seminary days and she's always been creative and resourceful. It's thrilling to see folks come alive doing what they love, isn't it? This is absolutely true for this gem of a woman and her work reflects it. 

I'm the lucky owner of the sign below and it now hangs proudly in my kitchen. I'd encourage you to follow Kristie on Facebook and Instagram and see more of her beautiful work! 


1. Shauna Niequist's newest book "Present Over Perfect" is speaking my language right now. I'm about half way through and I find myself constantly nodding my head, underlining, and every once in awhile finding I need to stop to digest her words.

Our culture is adept at pushing us to strive. And while I'm all for excellence, it seems our distorted beliefs around value being found in hustling and productivity are slowly killing us. This is why Shauna's words are a little bit of what we all need to hear right now:

"In seasons of deep transformation, silence will be your greatest guide. Even if it's scary, especially if it's scary, let silence be your anchor, your sacred space, your dwelling place. It's where you will become used to your own voice...Silence will become the incubator for your new found spirit, keeping it safe, growing steadily." - Shauna Niequist

You can follow Shauna on Facebook or look to purchase her book here

2. If you've followed me for awhile, you may know I have a passion for reading and from that a hobby developed-- launch teams! A launch team is basically a group of folks who share about authors and their stories. Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of launching "Four Letter Words" by Krista Wilbur. I had the opportunity to get to know Krista through the "For the Love" launch team and I have been amazed at her courage. 

Krista's story reads like a novel but is beautifully and painfully true. (As a counselor, I also want to advise a trigger warning for those of you who've experienced abuse). She articulates her experience walking through abuse and trauma and ultimately her resilient move towards healing. I was moved by the way Krista integrated her faith, pain, and story so well-- be sure to check her out.  

"He has written me, line by line, a bloom of petals on the page"
-Krista Wilbur

You can follow Krista on Facebook and purchase her book here. 


Have you met Johnnyswim? They're basically amazing and if you've haven't heard them yet-- may I submit this smooth beauty to you: 


Earlier this year, when we lost our precious babe to miscarriage-- my heart was broken. There's simply no way around this truth. And this is how we know we care deeply about something, we hurt over the loss of it. In the months since then, I've healed in many respects. One of the things I was blessed to have received in the aftermath of our loss is a beautiful leather bracelet from another sweet friend. She gifted it to me from the fabulously talented Danielle at her online store: Create Hope Cuffs. The words to that little beauty have adorned my wrist so frequently and this is what it says: We Can Do Hard Things. 

How many times have I said this to myself in the last 6 months? Too many to count-- and I'm glad I had something so tangible to remind me and ground me. Check out Danielle's Facebook and Etsy store!  


And now, onto a bit of an update. As I mentioned above, I've started to share my journey through infertility and miscarriage. I have so appreciated words of kindness as we've walked through the grief of those experiences. Both infertility and miscarriage tend to hold heavy stigmas. I hope to use my voice to continue to bring light to the reality of these losses and the courage it takes to process them well. I am passionate and confident in the importance of telling each of our stories--all the pieces of them. This, I'm convinced, is how the healing and the joy become deeper and richer. When we embrace the pain of our story we find God is sitting with us, loving us deeply, moving us toward healing. 

So, to keep things REALLY interesting-- I also find myself typing at my computer with a baby boy in my belly-- 22 weeks pregnant. (Eeeeekkkk!!!!!!)

This has been something I've kept tucked close for awhile, but it's a joy to share with you now. As our story unfolds I'm sure I'll be writing more in the future. For now, I'd love your prayers as we move forward-- stunned at God's faithfulness and grateful for the journey. 

Thank you again for your love and support. 


The Weight of It {When Words Matter}

by Andrea Kolber

I’m one of those people who revel in words. I enjoy a beautiful sentence, I’m a collector of quotes, and I’ll choose a good book over most activities.

Plus, I’m certain “words of affirmation” is my top love language (Thank you, Gary Chapman).

So it isn’t a stretch for me to chew on this idea of words. But this isn’t everyone’s story. Some folks don’t think much about it at face value, and that’s okay. Yet, we can’t get around how much weight our words hold.

What is it about words that can ignite us or strike us down? Why is there such consequence to what we say?

Much of what I do in the counseling room has roots in words that were not stewarded well. Possibly someone was careless or shaming with their comments; a parent who did not recognize how deeply their criticisms were felt. Other times, folks grieve words said in anger or difficult places. These painful wounds can wrap themselves around a person’s identity and attempt to extinguish their joy, self-efficacy, purpose, and hope.

Alternately, words can light a bonfire of potential in others.

It is beautiful to watch people lean into the reality that they are (or at least consider that they are) the Imago Dei; image bearers of God. Even with failure, even with imperfection, and even with pain—they are beautifully crafted to reflect the likeness of their maker. Each and every one of us carry this around with us.  

I have watched folks stand taller after they ingest hope, encouragement, and helpful critique. I have seen little girls raise their eyes up and begin to verbalize their weight doesn't define their worth. I have seen women begin to claim their innate value.

This is no less than amazing.

And so, yes, words matter— and how we say those words matter.

It appears purposeful God allowed words to have significance. Even God himself modeled this for us when He used words to speak creation into existence (Genesis 3). And then later, the author of Proverbs states:

"The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit" -Proverbs 18:21, NIV

Death and Life—this is a serious claim. And yet, we see again and again the power of our words in our culture, our homes, and in ourselves.

And so today, may I challenge you?

May I ask you to notice the words that come from your mouth and whether you’re using them to fan a flame or extinguish it in others (or yourself)?

When the difficult person at your work does that thing again? When the election goes differently than you hoped? When your child throws a full blown tantrum at the grocery store? When your spouse doesn’t pay attention when you’re talking?

Or maybe, even when you look at yourself in the mirror; when the clothes don’t hang like you want them to? Could you speak words of life then?

My hope for you today is you would notice these intersections between “death and life." And in those moments, I pray you could offer the benefit of a pause, to feel the weight of those words on your tongue.

Post adapted from archives.

Learning to Celebrate in the Middle of Pain

by Andrea Kolber

Earlier this year, I chose the word ‘celebration’ as my #oneword365 challenge. Essentially, it’s the word I felt led to focus on and cultivate in my life for 2016. Little did I know, just a week after choosing celebration I would be forced to question whether I believe what I wrote in my original post:

“I have become unwilling to sacrifice the beauty of moments for potential pain that may or may not come.”

You see, in those early days of January, I was about 7 weeks pregnant with a baby our family had longed and ached for. Of course, I felt ecstatic but also scared. As anyone who’s wanted anything knows, it’s not easy to wait for something we want and it’s even trickier to trust while we watch our longing come to fruition.

Nearly a week after my declaration of celebration—we learned our baby, our long desired and dreamed of baby, did not have much chance of viability. In an early ultrasound, I heard the dreaded words no momma wants to hear, “this isn’t what we’re supposed to be seeing here according to your dates. We have to wait to know for sure, but it doesn’t look like your baby is developing.”

Click here to keep reading over at the Huffington Post. 

Un-Stuck {We Have Permission to Change}

by Andrea Kolber

The dark sky is swirling above and clouds are forming. Like the weather, I feel gloomy and my soul feels stuck; the sense nothing I do will create movement or change. I wonder whether I will address this issue or that one? Do I put my energy here, here or here? My vision feels blurry and frankly I just want to nap.

Stuck-ness can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not equipped to change it. 

I sigh deeply and I feel disappointment lay heavy like a wet blanket, surrounding me, but not with comfort. And one more time I think, "it’s still not happening."

I wonder if you’ve been there?

Maybe you didn't get recognized or you've had another argument with your spouse. Maybe a person you depend on let you down deeply. 

Maybe it’s a church situation that causes you to question faith. It might even be the exhaustion that comes from parenting small people EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

Any of those events can trigger the feeling.

But each of those moments places us at a crossroads. Does this current reality define me or is there a deeper truth to lean into? How do we honor our current pain while also creating momentum to move forward?

And when I say momentum, I mean the curious thing which makes you feel motivated and strangely capable.

I remember, in what seems another lifetime, feeling it on the basketball court. It’s the energy that comes with a steal and a made shot; the look teammates share when they see each other's determination. It’s like someone put fire in your step and precision in your movement and it's palpable. 

That’s momentum.

I’ve felt it in everyday life too. Several good breaks paired with a wise decision-- maybe a job you were aiming for and the house you wanted worked out. It could even look like people in your tribe standing confidently by your side. What an interesting phenomenon momentum creates.

When we break down these two opposites (stuck vs. momentum), it can be easy to dismiss them to luck, or blessing. And truthfully, I do believe there is always an element of blessing each of us experiences in any positive situation. God is gracious to us in that way.

But we have some choice too.

I love the Serenity Prayer as a resource, as it touches on the choices we face:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

In the murky places of stuck-ness the Serenity prayer reminds us God is our source and giver of peace for things we cannot change. And, He is the highest resource of courage for things we can. Finally, it's a reminder that we must bring good judgement as we navigate the difference. 

I find much of our stuck-ness is born from missing these principles. We have bought into the lie that we're unable to change anything OR everything is ours to change. Both are oppressive. 

Like shackles holding us down, trying to control what's not ours causes us to feel powerless. And denying the grief from that reality adds more chains. 

When we accept reality, we can begin to embrace the possibility we have power to make good choices and this, dear reader, is where momentum is born:

Doing the next right thing.

Even the smallest, seemingly inconsequential, action can be the next right thing. And when we put our energy into those decisions, they add up.

Like a player who lays her heart on the court building momentum with her team, we have that opportunity too. We may not reap rewards immediately, but we may just become un-stuck. May we remember and own the permission each of us has to change. 

Post adapted and edited from archives.