Twyla Franz

Twyla Franz is a big believer in baby steps and ripple-effect living. An Enneagram 9 learning to live open. She drinks blueberry tea, bakes sourdough, and cheers loudly at dance competitions. Her greatest passion is uncomplicating missional neighboring through The Uncommon Normal (blog and podcast).

29 Life-Changing Books for Your Reading List

January waltzes in, dreamy and ambitious. Whispers permission to shred your list of what you haven’t finished, haven’t even started, from last year. She’s a bright new start and welcome friend. Me? Just a girl who loves books, like you. I’ve handpicked my favorites from my bookshelf and I offer to you 29 of the most wonderful books sure to change your life. Let’s meander through my color-organized stacks and stop at these: 29 Life-Changing Books to Add to Your Reading List This Year 1. For the one holding her breath, walking faster, feeling the pressure to do more, balance it all, let no one down: Permission to slow and savor and grow. Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-Hurrying Your Heart from an […]

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mom holding infant in her lap while working at her computer and wondering "who am I?"

Who Am I Beneath My Titles, Roles, and Labels?

Sometimes you’ve got to tell yourself what you’re made for. Because you forgot. Or it got lost in the loads of unfolded laundry, dishes stacked in the sink, papers from school in a messy stack of come-back-to-it-later. If you’re like me, you forget that your roles aren’t you. Sure, you’re part mom, part wife, part daughter and sister, aunt and writer. But the way you fill your roles and the way they expose your lack says what you do, not who you are. They define you in relation to others. Tell you how to show up. Who to love best. They’re important. Who Am I? You’re More Than a Title But your biggest purpose isn’t a title, a label, or a role.

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woman with hat looking thoughtfully over the top of her laptop with her chin resting on her hands wondering if she's wasting time trying to be perfect

Why Trying to Be Perfect Is a Waste of Time

You’re trying to be perfect and you wonder if you’re doing it right. The way you stack all the things into your day and hope they don’t topple. The way you climb into bed exhausted and get up early to repeat everything. What if you’re wasting your time? Prioritizing the wrong things? Saying the wrong yeses and noes? Your life is full, and also not. But you don’t have time to get that honest. There’s a dishwasher to empty before you pack lunches, start dinner, switch the wet sheets over to the dryer, check the school folders, sign up for that committee. If you’re as easily distracted as I am, you try to do everything at the same time. No wonder you

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overhead view of a woman holding a cup of coffee while writing in a 30-day gratitude challenge journal with the other hand

30-Day Gratitude Challenges Are Selling Us Short

Gratitude sits with you differently in November. Makes you feel toasty, like the hygge of fire-side reading. Slows your steps, your heart, your soul. You welcome her to your table with a carefully laid-out china and your best chair. In November, gratitude is the easy-to-get-along-with friend. Her company is pleasant and light. She shares gentle wisdom. Notes the gift of long sleep, chilled air in the lungs, sun hanging steady. Pulls you to a crimson-red maple leaf. “God loves you like that,” she says, eyes dancing. She’s a constant companion, but she’s not pesky. Doesn’t require much. Maybe a photo snapped once a day. A short caption written for Instagram or Facebook. Or a hand-penned journal line. She’s mostly invitation, though we

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woman holding a cup of coffee with a Bible in her lap as part of her morning routine that feels doable

Hectic Schedule? How to Create a Morning Routine that Feels Doable

I’ve been the young mom who trades multitasking in the office for barely fitting in a shower and clearing the dishwater all before the end of my husband’s work day. The mom trying all The Happiest Baby on the Block tips, like the baby-straddles-your-forearm-while-you-gently-jiggle-her-head trick to make her sleepy. My arm would fall asleep before my baby did, and when I’d lay her in her crib, slowly inch my arm free, and tiptoe out of the room, it would be mere minutes before she’d start to cry. No joke, my firstborn never napped. Also true is that I lost a piece of me in those years of just making it through the day. Being a new mom was all-consuming, so I stopped

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a group of people eating at a table together in the backyard of a home; a lesson in how to become friends with your neighbors

How to Become Friends with Your Neighbors

It’s one thing to dream of neighbors gathering around your table when you have ample, decorated space, freshly cleaned bathrooms, and kids who keep their toys in their rooms and their crumbs on their plates. It’s a different kind of story when you’re renting a humble home with upside-down outlets. Unforgiving, flat-painted walls. Nicked linoleum. Then the dream gets turned round and round in your heart as you ask, “Why?” and “When?” and “How?” But the best dreams don’t wait for us to be ready. They meet us in boring, over-tired, spilled cheerios, right-now moments. When we feel most inadequate. When we most need hope. That’s where our family’s dream started. It’s also where it began to collect dust. If I could

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