Our study, Engaging Motherhood: Heart Preparation for a Holy Calling is a place for moms of young children to connect and beat back loneliness, to be reminded of truth when lies scream so loudly, and to be assured that we are enough because he is enough. It seeks to prepare mamas for the days when sin flares up, expectations go unmet, relationships are strained, or the line between the rational and the irrational goes to blur. Done individually or in a group setting, we hope women will be steadied and encouraged by the experiences of seven mothers who have gone down this road before.
pictured left to right: Jessica Hale, Brandie Wolfe, Linda Barrett, Holly Mackle, Carrie Brock, Jenn Hale, and Lauren Kirkland
Holly Mackle is wife to a handsome, mama of two flower-sneaking bitties, garden blogger at Digging Suburbia, and author of the Advent devotional Little Hearts, Prepare Him Room. (The bitties want you to know they like glitter, chips, and a good ruffle.) She graduated from Samford University, and holds Masters degrees in Spanish Literature and Secondary Education. After leaving her teaching job to become a stay at home mom, Holly writes as a regular contributor to enCourage—the PCA women’s blog, and is the humorist for joegardener.com. In her free time, she enjoys both pop culture and theological podcasts (sometimes back to back), baking through Pioneer Woman’s recipes, and using every gardening metaphor possible to explain life to her girls. She does not enjoy chasing rabbits away from her green beans.
Linda Barrett is is Honey to her husband, Mama to three grown children, and Momanim to an energetic, blue-eyed dog named Barnabas. She grew up in Alabama, graduated with a degree in English, married, then for twenty years zigzagged across the country, finally settling in Birmingham.
Although converted when young, performance-based Christianity drove Linda to despair. Then she awakened to God’s glory and unconditional love. She shares God’s revealed grace and wonders through writing, teaching, mentoring, and other arts. Linda loves well-crafted stories, meaningful conversations, camping with her husband, laughter with friends and family, and worship and prayer with like-minded people. She blogs at Invitation to Wonder.
Carrie Brock is originally from Nashville, and now lives in Birmingham with her husband and their three kids. After a long journey through infertility, they were blessed with a family through adoption – the oldest from China and two adopted domestically. Carrie enjoys starting the day with a cup (or two) of really good black coffee. She enjoys exercising to loud music, reading home organization books, writing in her journal or on her blog and rearranging rooms in her house. After the kids go to bed, she and her husband love to catch up on their favorite TV shows together. She loves making a spreadsheet for everything, from meal planning to back-to-school preparation. But her true passion is in seeing and telling of the power of the Lord throughout her story of adoption.
Dr. Jenn Hale was born and raised in New York but now lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband and two young daughters. She graduated from Duke University with a BS in Neuroscience and later received her MD degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. She has been a practicing physician for over 12 years, and transitioned to part-time work once her oldest daughter was born. She has experience teaching in a wide variety of settings, from elementary-age Sunday School to church-led Bible studies and women’s discipleship groups (her greatest passion). In her spare time, Dr. Hale is both a competitive swimmer and triathlete, and can often be found in the pool or on the trails. She also enjoys creative writing, watching the sunrise, and trips to the beach.
Jessica Hale lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband and three little ones. She graduated from Samford University with a degree in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. She worked at a local accounting firm for several years before leaving her accounting career to become a stay at home mom. She occasionally helps teach bible studies and facilitate small groups to new moms at her church. She has a heart for women to experience community and connection in the local church. Jessica enjoys reading historical fiction and theology books and articles. When she’s not corralling kids, she can probably be found drinking coffee, watching a TV series on Amazon Prime, or exercising.
Lauren Kirkland lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a speech language pathologist who works with adults. She loves connecting with patients and helping them communicate to the best of their ability. She married her college sweetheart and they have two rambunctious, tender boys who were adopted domestically. Lauren loves being outdoors with her boys, reading, spending time with friends and extended family, and traveling. She is passionate about orphan care, justice, and speaking into the hearts of others who are going through infertility.
Brandie Wolfe was born and raised in Rome, Georgia. She moved to Alabama to attend Jacksonville State University where she earned a degree in Public Relations. After graduating she moved to Birmingham to start a job as Volunteer Coordinator at Sav-A-Life, Vestavia. Brandie met her husband Jason through mutual friends and were married within 9 months of their first date. They have been married for 7 years and have two boys, Jack (6) and Parker (3). Brandie loves biographies, documentaries, and interior decorating.
Keri Adams lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Scott, and their three kids. She has grown in grace and gained a bigger view of God’s Kingdom through her church home, Oak Mountain Presbyterian. She is passionate about the work of International Justice Mission (IJM) and loves the people of IJM. One of the best experiences of her life is the year that she and her family lived in Kampala, Uganda, while her husband served as a volunteer lawyer with IJM.
Nancy Carroll writes fiction, non-fiction, and Bible studies; and provides soul care, speaks, and leads retreats for small groups, leadership teams, artists and missionaries. She’s president of InSpero (www.inspero.org) which inspires Birmingham’s creative community to bring beauty and hope to our city and churches. She believes and communicates the amazing truth that we are God’s beloved children (and yet battles to believe it for herself every day). Nancy helps people “re-find” their voices, calling, creativity, and courage. She’s called to connect people to Christ through story, Scripture, and creative community. Follow her blog at http://www.reallylatebloomer.com/and her snarkier side at http://www.theyearofnotbeingnice.com/.
Megan Elliott resides in Birmingham Alabama where she takes care of her family which includes 1 husband, 3 children, 2 cats, and a basset hound. She love Jesus, sunshine, and the people that God has put in her life. On a typical day you may find her sitting in her chair, rocking a child or the basset hound and reading a Harry Potter book for the 12th time.
Meg Flowers is a Southeastern nomad, claiming Jackson, Mississippi and now Birmingham, Alabama as home. She teaches classes for the Carraway Center for Teaching and Learning which specializes in the practical application of cognitive neuroscience to improve student learning. She also loves working with middle school students during a summer learning camp through a partnership with Urban Hope PCA in Fairfield, AL. She and her husband, Brian, are members of Oak Mountain PCA where Meg serves on the women’s leadership team. They enjoy cheering for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Dallas Cowboys with their two sons.
Kristen Hatton is the author of the teen devotional Get Your Story Straight, and a second book, Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World, scheduled to release in May 2017. Kristen discovered her passion for teaching and writing about grace and growth in the gospel through her years of leading a teen girls Bible study. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her pastor husband and their three teenagers. To learn more visit www.kristenhatton.com.
Brittany Hogan is a servant of Christ, wife, and mom of angel babies Niya and Madison Hogan. In addition, she serves her community as an author, speaker, blogger and founder of Empowered to Conquer, a youth development nonprofit organization. Brittany’s passion is to help others discover and fulfill their God-given purposes and she lives daily to fulfill this mission. The legacy of her daughter Niya, whose name means “purpose,” causes Brittany to live each day intentionally while the peace she gained from her “gift from God,” Madison, helps her rely on Jesus’ strength each moment. Brittany and her husband Nick believe that God will use the legacy of their daughters to reach others for his glory.
Abby Hutto is the Director of Women’s Ministry at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church in Gahanna, Ohio. She also works for Parakaleo, a ministry that comes alongside women in ministry, as a Network Leader, Gospel Coach and Alongside Trainer. She loves to study and teach God’s Word and delights in helping others experience and know their Heavenly Father better. Abby is married to Ken, and they have two children, Hannah (11) and Harris (10). They live in Westerville, Ohio.
Cara Johnson is a life-long southerner, but doesn’t like sweet tea or the phrase “Bless your heart” no matter how sugary they are. You can win her heart, though, with a wide front porch, fried okra, and some authentic bluegrass music. When not making up ridiculous (but catchy!) songs to get her kids to eat, Cara writes, edits, bakes, spends time outside, teaches Bible studies, and occasionally finishes her morning cup of Joe. She has a degree in secondary education from Samford University, taught high school English for eight years before staying home with the littles, and holds a Master’s degree in writing from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga (her hometown!). She and her husband Phil live in Birmingham, AL with their soon-to-be three children under five.
Kristy McKinney loves to dance, watch movies, and laugh. As she has a hard time sitting still, Kristy’s main career is in movement through Pilates and dance fitness. Kristy holds a BS in Public Communications, and resides in Birmingham with her husband, Jonathan, and three children.
Lindsey Murphy is a writer, teacher, singer, wife to Andrew, and mother to their four hilarious dreams-come-true. A native of Memphis, TN, she has called Birmingham, AL home since 2004 and is absolutely in love with the Magic City. Her current adventures include homeschooling, the constant quest to accrue more pets, and taking on far too many creative projects at once. You can find her online at lifeabundantly.net.
Nicole grew up in California as a military kid, moving every few years until she was 18. After graduating with a BA in both Psychology and Speech Communication, she joined a 5-month Discipleship school in Costa Rica. During that time she fell in love with Central America, met her husband, and made a commitment to live her life in all-out surrender to Jesus. She and her husband still live in Costa Rica, training and equipping Latin Americans to take the Gospel to the unreached nations of the world. She is a new mom to a beautiful baby girl, passionate about photography, film, travel, experiencing different cultures, discussing taboo topics, exploring the outdoors, eating as natural as possible, and seeing people walk in freedom. Nicole shares her stories at feetofpeace.com.
Heather Patridge lives in Helena, Alabama with her husband and two young children. She is expecting her third child. When she is not busy caring for the needs of her little ones, she enjoys expressing herself through writing and often submits articles for her church newsletter. She is passionate about early education and loves sharing about her love for quality children’s literature. She usually spends her free time either buried in a good book or perusing the aisles of a thrift store.
Matt Redmond is the husband of Bethany, and the Dad of Emma Caroline, Knox, and Dylan. He once was a youth pastor and now works for a bank. Matt is the author of The God of the Mundane and occasionally writes down his “Random Thoughts” at Echoes and Stars. And he would rather be listening to vinyl records than writing a bio about himself.
Beka Rickman lives in Birmingham with her husband and three children. She does not have any pets.
Maegan Roper is a wife, mom of 3, publishing professional, classical homeschooler, writer, speaker and singer. As author of 30 Days of Hope for Restoration in Infant Loss, she’s passionate about infant loss awareness and helping encourage women to find their hope and healing in Christ. Maegan has written for digital and print publications such as Life Beautiful Magazine, MinistryMatters, Inkwell Inspirations, Christian Family Publications, and more. She resides in Birmingham, AL with her husband, Jeremy and two children Emmalyn and Harrison.
Caroline Saunders is a fairly new mom, who is totally freaked out and ecstatic about it at the same time. She can be found hyperventilating and dancing jigs with daughter Adelaide, son Greer, and husband Luke at her home in Collierville, Tennessee. A former writing teacher and curriculum writer, she now focuses all her powers on raising her little humans at home, and she is a member of The Orchard Fellowship, where her husband serves as the Associate Pastor. She can be found oversharing at WriterCaroline.com.
Sarah Thomas is a wife, a mama of four, a master of the seventeen-minute power nap, a wrangler of too-many-pets, a gluttonous reader, and a gatherer of beauty. She also occasionally writes, teaches small people, walks in the woods, and binge-watches period pieces from the BBC.
Pamela Wells is a native Midwestern anglophile currently living in California. She attends Christ Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara, where her husband happens to be the pastor. She and her family enjoy brewing high-maintenance coffee, never having to scrape ice off of car windshields, and road trips up the 1. She is currently completing an MA in Theological Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary.
Laura Wifler is a wife and mother to two children and is currently in the process of adopting two more from Eastern Europe. She blogs about motherhood, adoption and lifestyle, and is a co-host on Risen Motherhood, a weekly podcast giving gospel-hope to moms in everyday moments. Laura likes her coffee black, going on hikes, dabbling in DIY, reading books with real pages to turn, and having impromptu dance parties in the kitchen with her children. Laura and her family reside in Chicago, Illinois and attend Naperville PCA.
Anna Williams is a wife and mom of four living in North Carolina. She was born and raised in the Midwest, and graduated from Cornerstone University where she studied Educational Ministries and English. She enjoys children’s literature and spending time outdoors, and has a weakness for pretty paper products.