lori & steven mcclure

helping you write a better love story

10 Political Quotes to Chase the Election Blues Away

I wrote a long political post out of frustration today. I’m not going to share it. You’re welcome. Instead I offer you ten political quotes to chase away the election blues. If you’re feeling frustrated like me, sometimes it helps to find solace in the words of another. So read on, and feel free to borrow any or all of these ten political quotes to get you through this painful election cycle.

Hang in there! Election season is almost over after which we can all shift our focus to arguing about the evils of whoever gets elected.

George Orwell –

Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Quotes, George Orwell

Groucho Marx –

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.

Quotes, Groucho Marx

June Jordan –

Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth.

Quotes, June Jordan

Thom Yorke –

One of the interesting things here is that the people who should be shaping the future are politicians. But political framework itself is so dead and closed that people look to other sources, like artists, because art and music allow people a certain freedom.

Quotes, Thom Yorke

Bob Woodward –

The cloud of doubt that surrounds political figures tends to remain and never dissipate or be clarified.

Quotes, Bob Woodward

John F. Kennedy –

The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

Quotes, John F. Kennedy

Martin Luther King Jr. –

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

Quotes, Martin Luther King Jr.

Horace Mann –

Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark all is deluge.

Quotes, Horace Mann

Tony Campolo –

What we need to affirm is that Jesus is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. Whenever we marry Jesus to a political party, we are committing the sin of idolatry. We are making Jesus into the image of our political party.

Quotes, Tony Campolo

James Joyce –

I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church; and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use–silence, exile, and cunning.

Quotes, James Joyce

Grace for Me and You

I am not who I once was. Neither are you.
And guess what?

You won’t be who are now in five years either.

We’re all growing and changing and learning and adding and subtracting from our lives every day. We pick up things we think are a better fit, and we discard things that used to fit but have grown snug and maybe a little itchy.

Life isn’t static.

Just like your favorite pair of jeans will inevitably become unwearable, some of your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs might become unlivable. And while that used to scare me, I now find it refreshing.

This is the point at which I apologize to my former youth pastor for looking past my self-righteousness masked as righteous indignation. There’s a special place for youth pastors who let teens work out their idealistic and misguided notions in real time. I thank you, Greg Linkous, for your unending patience. You put up with a lot of nonsense!

I’ve been thinking about writing and social media and how it’s extremely difficult for me to live out my writing life at times because I’m not who I once was. And for some, this is unsettling. They don’t like that I’ve done some rearranging.

In the early years, I lived for a hot debate about anything. Give me some room to breathe, and I could go back and forth with anyone of any age for any length of time battling out philosophy and religion and ethics. I ate it up.

But over the years, and along with the advent of social media, I lost much of my (well-meaning but misguided) spunk as opinions became weapons and misunderstandings became wounds. At the end of the day, none of it felt worthy of time and energy anymore. I began to recoil into myself, to enjoy anonymity and safety in the very few who knew me well enough not to discard me and our friendship if (and when) our thoughts differed.

Because isn’t that the problem? Our ideas and opinions and ideologies have become little more than reasons to divide instead of reasons to come together. We don’t engage in conversation to find middle ground and commonality. We engage in conversation simply to be heard and rarely to listen. We no longer want to grow. We just want to win.

And what good is any of that?

Here’s the problem. It’s the extremes we need to run from. There is healing in the balance — that beautiful balance of speaking and listening instead of always speaking or always listening. Behind every opinion is a human being who carries pain and passion just like you.

As I see it now, I have two choices:

  1. Retreat because I don’t want to deal with other people.
  2. Choose to try and live out the hard life of balance.

If I’m being honest, I retreat more than not these days because I don’t want to divide. I don’t want to alienate. I don’t want to defend what doesn’t need defending or berate when I should embrace. I don’t want to do any of the behaviors that build walls instead of tearing them down.

So, I’m trying. I am. I’m trying to push fear aside and speak when necessary and hold my tongue when it’s not. But I can guarantee you one thing; I will get it wrong.

When I do, will you pause before pouncing? Will you stop and remember that you once thought things you no longer think? Will you remember that we are all works in progress? Will you remember that we must act out of love more and condemnation less? Will you walk with me through this difficult world in which divisions are beginning to define us more than anything else?

I want to do the hard work, but you know what? It’s hard. It’s really hard. And I sometimes don’t want to do it.

But we must.

This is what I long for:


“There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.” –Brennan Manning

I promise to have grace for you, and I hope you can find some grace for me, too.

We Start by Stopping

In the days, hours, weeks, and months to come, people will reference the horror of what happened today in Belgium—alongside the horrors of Paris, San Bernardino, Charleston, Newtown, Columbine, and too many more to list—and call for some specific action.

Some will say we should be more vigilant. Others will submit that we’re already too involved in fights and skirmishes we didn’t start and shouldn’t care about. Still others will say we need more weapons, more bombs, and more guns. Others will consider more shaking fists, rising voices, and building walls the answer. Some will weep for peace pursued through the rise of the industrial military machine, whispering prayers through tears that we may one day soon see the last sword beat into a plowshare.

We will bury ourselves under an avalanche of our own making: opinions, posts, tweets, retrospectives, meetings, reports, prayers, and rallies. It will be (and in some ways already is) too much.

So what do we do today? What can we do? Honestly, I don’t really know.

But I think we start by stopping.

First, we just literally stop. We stop and pray, if that’s something we do. Or we just stop, and breathe. We remember. We remember lives lost, lives you weren’t even aware of until they were gone. Pray and think and weep for the pain and death and destruction we have wrought.

For one minute, stop. Stop reading this. Close your eyes. Close your laptop. Open your heart, and let it break for where we are and who we’ve become.

Then let’s stop demonizing every single person who has ever dared to think or believe in a way or in a god that doesn’t align with ours. Let’s stop assuming that the presence of an opinion in our brain means it must therefore be the right one.

Let’s stop viewing social media as the means by which we can alternately build up or tear down other people, people groups, or even ways of thinking/worshipping/being. Facebook is for pictures of your dog’s new bowtie collar. It is not the place where you can avenge the pain you feel at not feeling as safe as you think you deserve to feel. Take your hands off the keyboard. Take a deep breath. Lay your weapon down.

Let’s stop assuming that we can make the world conform to our will through the simple and surgical application of force, be it through words or bombs or some disfigured combination of the two. Might doesn’t make right; it makes the strong feel safe and the weak feel forgotten. More bombs won’t necessarily make us less endangered, but it is guaranteed to make all of us somehow simply feel less.

Let’s stop believing the lie that there is one person or one law or one wall that will give us the world we think we deserve. The world is (blessedly) not that simple, nor will it ever be. Let’s stop telling each other the same ridiculous lie, and face the truth.

The truth is (Wesley was right), life is pain. Maybe that’s where we start.

We start with our sameness because, yes, we are all the same. We are not the same because of our skin color or our creed or our political party or our rightness. We are the same because of our brokenness. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all lost. We are one in our pain.

And if we are all wounded, then we don’t really need to hurt each other any more. Do we?

Finally (and this is what I believe and what I will do), we can remember that our greatest hope at healing isn’t in the November election or the committing of troops or even in found rightness.

It is in setting my face to the healing of others, for if your brokenness is mine, then so too is your wholeness. When you are one, I am one.

And then . . .

we can be one.

10 Date Night Ideas that Won’t Stress You or Your Bank Account

It’s that time again. Love Day: more commonly referred to as Valentine’s Day.

We’ve not been silent about the fact that we don’t often celebrate Valentine’s Day. Oops. However, we do celebrate our love every chance we get. It’s better that way for us. And while we’d recommend not putting off the expression of your love until another holiday comes around, we’d be silly to completely disregard a holiday known for love declaration.

In honor of Love Day, we thought we’d give your creativity a jumpstart. Looking for ideas? We’ve got a few to get you moving in the right direction.

May we present you with a handy-dandy PDF entitled . . .

10 Date Night Ideas that Won’t Stress You or Your Bank Account.

(Scroll down to get your freebie.)

While these may not be the most earth-shattering ideas, they can definitely be a good springboard for those of you who would be perfectly content to make the same plans with your significant other over and over and over (and over and over and over…!) again.

I get it. I really do.

But it never hurts to try something new, so make some plans.

Go on, now!

And don’t forget to come back, and tell us all about it.

Happy Love Day friends!

Happy, Happy Love Day!

Don’t forget to grab your freebie here =>> Date Night Ideas PDF

The World of Like

Deep down, we all want to be liked, don’t we? In a world powered by online (read: manufactured) affirmation, it can be all too easy to fuel the fire of “like me” that burns inside every one of us. Voices call for our attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there’s no shortage of opinions consistently weighing us down and directing us on how best to live our lives. It’s easy to get swept up in living lives with the sole purpose of getting the most likes.

What would happen if you decided not to play along?

Yes, everyone seems to want something from you, even if it’s only your attention. But the flip-side of that truth is this; not every voice deserves your attention.

What would happen if you took some time to shut the voices out before 2016 starts?

Even better, what if you listened to your own voice for a change?voices

Can you hear what your body, mind, and spirit are whispering through the louder sea of opinions?

What are you saying to you?

God has placed a purpose inside of you and inside of me, and He’s given you all you need to fulfill that purpose. Maybe it’s time you begin living into it.

  • What’s that thing you always thought you’d be doing by now that you’ve let fall away?
  • What have you been putting off?
  • What gift is lying dormant inside of you?

In our world, we have to fight for silence. We have to fight to listen to the still, small voice instead of defaulting to the loudest ones. We have to fight the fear of purpose, the fear of failure, the fear of vulnerability.

I encourage you to tune out the madness because there is no shortage of voices willing to boss you around if you let them. But you know what? This could be the year you summon the courage to turn away from them, and listen to yourself for a change.

Let 2016 be the year you start listening to the voice that matters: yours.

You don’t need a guru to clear the path for you. What you do need is to listen to the One who created you, the One who knows you better than anyone else, the One who puts the longing for purpose in you to begin with. Let His voice guide you into your purpose.

***Is there something you know you were meant to do but you’re afraid to finally go for it? Leave a comment and share your purpose with us. We’d love to encourage you as you make 2016 the year to follow your purpose with focus and clarity.

Beyond the Fog . . .



I love fog.

For me, it’s a simple reminder that not being able to see something doesn’t equate to that thing not being there. Sure, this could be used as a simplistic argument for the presence of God, but I mean something more — more than just His existence. I’m referring to His work: in my life, in my family, and in this world.

Yes, I believe in God. And yes, I believe He is at work (again) in my life, in my family, and in our world. However, sometimes I fail to see any proof of this truth. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like He’s working. Sometimes it feels like He’s not even there. It’s at these times I think of fog, and I remember that something being hidden is not the same as something being gone.

This morning, here in Northern Kentucky, it looks like someone has erased downtown Cincinnati, but, of course, it’s still there. The picture above, taken from just outside our apartment, would normally be of the city skyline. Today, it’s just a wall of gray. In the same way, even when it feels as if He’s moved (or maybe never really been there), I remember God is always there and always at work.

God is and ever shall be.



A Holiday Prayer for Those Who Hurt

For some people, the holidays are a magical time of year. These are the folks who decorate early, mainline pumpkin spice lattes, and finish their Christmas shopping before you’re done scraping cranberry sauce off the floor. Is that you? If so, be happy in your Christmas bliss.

Christmas, prayer, hope

But maybe this isn’t you. At all.

You’re tired.

Worn out.



If so, you’re not alone.

For some, the holidays are another reminder there isn’t enough to go around. For others, the Christmas season is a harbinger of painful memories, disappointment, and loss.

So, we speak to you today. We speak to the ones carrying extra emotional baggage through November, December, and even well into January. We only want to tell you one thing.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to be sad and lonely and disappointed. It’s okay to cry while others laugh. Allow yourself to sit with the hurt during this season instead of trying to push it away every moment of the day. Because all that pushing? It’s exhausting.

Let yourself mourn for what you’ve lost or never had.

Allow the pain to come. Allow yourself to grieve for lost loved ones or empty bank accounts or broken families. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to recognize you’ve lost something everyone else seems to have.

Most importantly, remember you’re not the only one. Don’t let Instagram pics and Facebook posts fool you. Behind the smiles, people all around you bear the weight of disappointment, too.

Next, while it’s good to pause and reflect and grieve, we also encourage you to take a second to look at what you do have. If you can’t find anything else to be thankful for, there’s one thing we all have in common: life. If you’re breathing, start there.

While you might feel alone, we can unite across distance and time through prayer. So, we’d like to offer this holiday prayer for you to whisper on your hard days, and we’d also like to offer our prayers to you. If you want, we’ll pray for you. Leave a comment or message here (or use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) letting us know you’d like us to remember you in prayer, and we promise we will.

You are not alone, my friend.

You are never alone.

And if you keep moving, it will get better.

advent, hope, prayer

Holiday Prayer for those Who Suffer


I come before you to acknowledge my thanks for the life I’ve been given. You are the giver of life, and I thank you for my life even though I feel burdened by pain and my days feel long and empty.

I come before you admitting my brokenness. I come before you to lay my sadness, hurt, pain, and disappointment at your feet.

I ask for hope to replace hopelessness, provision to replace deficit, comfort to replace sorrow, companionship to replace loneliness.

In my sorrow, I ask you to open my eyes to others who hurt, so I can make a difference in the life of someone else. Help me to remember the truth that we all need each other.

I thank you for your peace and presence, and I ask you to remind me of the promise and potential life offers even when I feel like I’ve lost it all.

Show me your grace as I seek to remember your goodness through my pain. Show me small reminders of your love for me as I seek to set aside my worries and trust in you for all things.

I give myself to you completely. Help me when I can’t help myself.

In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I pray,


Is Selfishness Creeping into Your Relationship?

The Greed of SelfishnessIn a world where entitlement rages, it’s no wonder selfishness creeps into many areas of our lives. While we’ve all heard stories of entitlement in the workplace, we do well to remember that our personal lives are no less exempt from the struggle of serving self. If we’re assuming life should be easy all the time, rainbows greeting us at every turn, we’re sure to be disappointed. Relationships require work — work our selfish selves may be less than excited to do.

Selfishness at its core is the antithesis of generosity — a cornerstone component of any healthy relationship. Unselfish people look for ways to make other’s lives better, richer, and fuller — not smaller. Unselfish people seek to share life with their partners instead of forcing their relationships to suit personal desires alone.

What are Some Examples of Selfish Behavior in Relationships?

  1. Do you exclude your partner from decision-making? If so, explore the reason behind your unwillingness to share in life decisions. As uncomfortable as it is to admit, control could be the cause. Once you choose to enter a partnership with another person, you give up the right to act independently of one another. You’re free to let the world revolve around you, but don’t be surprised if you end up alone by refusing to let your partner share in decision-making that affects both of your lives.
  2. Do you consistently make plans that cater to your own wants and desires? When is the last time you planned a night specifically for your partner? A healthy relationship is one that allows for both of you to explore common and uncommon tastes and interests. Open your mind, and embrace change. You might even have fun along the way.
  3. Do you constantly seek to mold your relationship in your own image, or are you open to changing and learning from your spouse? Thriving relationships require give and take from both partners. If you find yourself continually seeking to change the behavior of those in your life, there’s a good chance you’re frustrating everyone around you — including your spouse. Take an honest look at your actions. Do you always push change on others while you stay the same?
  4. Do you keep secrets? Secrets big and small can damage a relationship. Secrets about spending, plans, emails, mistakes, etc., will eventually bleed a relationship of all health. One secret is too many. Tell it all. If you’re harboring secrets it’s time to do some serious searching within yourself. What are you afraid to tell? Why are you hiding?

A healthy relationship is a generous relationship, which includes:

  • Giving
  • Sharing
  • Compromise
  • Flexibility
  • Selflessness (Hint: birthdays and Christmas are only a start)

Where do you go from here? It’s time to talk about it, and here’s some inspiration to get you started.

Conversation Starters for Problem Areas:

  1. When you make decisions without consulting me, I feel devalued and unimportant. I need to feel like my voice is heard in our relationship, and when you don’t talk to me before making decisions, I feel powerless and frustrated. I don’t want to feel like I’m being controlled. I want to feel like I’m in a partnership.
  2. When you make plans without considering my interests and desires, I feel unimportant to you. I need to feel valued, seen, and heard in our relationship. I would love to share some of my favorite places and interests with you, so we can be more connected.
  3. When you try to change who I am, it makes me feel like you don’t love me for who I am. I believe it’s important to grow and change for both of us — not just me. I’d love to learn how to grow and change together instead of feeling like I’m your side project.
  4. When you keep secrets from me, it makes me feel unsafe. I have a hard time trusting you when you keep even small secrets from me. Why do you feel like you can’t share your life with me? How can we stop this behavior from damaging our relationship? Are you willing to stop keeping secrets?

Relationships built on selfishness may not be doomed to fail, but neither are they destined to flourish. Do the hard work of truly sharing your lives together. Is it easy? No. All the best parts of our lives require work — no matter what the internet says.

But is it worth it? Yes.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3

When Life is Stuck in the Valley and Your Relationship Feels Distant

Life is a mix of valleys and mountaintops.

Life is gut-wrenching one minute and exhilarating the next.

You’re on top of it all — unstoppable and unbreakable, and suddenly, you’re on a merry-go-round that won’t stop, holding on for dear life as the winds of life push faster and faster.

Life is hard — even cruel — sometimes.


Since 2012, we’ve experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows as a family. Both of our children have experienced serious struggles both physically and emotionally since our move to the Cincinnati area. Every parent knows the sting of helplessness, watching a child struggle with no ability to make it better. It’s awful.

We’ve sat and cried with our children over long-term illness and emotional stress that’s taken its toll physically as well. We’ve prayed and talked and gone to the appropriate professionals as needed, but the truth is the road for both of my children has been long and winding and a little dark at times with no quick fixes to be found.

Why am I telling you this? Because I know we’re not the only ones who’ve experienced hardship. We’ve watched friends and family experience loss in many forms: death, divorce, unemployment, etc.

Life is a mix of valleys and mountaintops, and the whiplash of disparate experiences can take a toll on your relationship.

When your personal merry-go-round spins faster and won’t let you off, one of two things can happen to your relationships:

  1. You and your partner grow closer together.
  2. You and your partner grow farther apart.

Steven and I have been really tired at times throughout our family struggles. We haven’t always agreed on the proper course of action to take with our children. We’ve had some hard conversations, and it’s tempting to pull away when we’re scared and hurt and tired.

But we have also done the hard work of not giving up — which is sometimes a daily choice — of reaching for one another in the darkness.

Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a walk together when we’d rather zone out in front of the TV. Other times, it means we binge-watch to give ourselves a break from the stress of life.

Sometimes it’s speaking truth to the other’s fears, so we can snap ourselves out of the haze of deception. Other times, it’s watching Brian Reagan with the whole family to remind ourselves that fear is a bully and laughter can exist even when we’re walking through the valleys.

Maybe it means listening to the advice of friends and family or completely ignoring it.

When the storms come, fight to stay present. Don’t check out. Remember feelings can’t be trusted.

The same choppy waters you’re navigating will turn placid again, but if you jump out of the boat? You’ll be alone with nothing but a lonely swim to shore waiting.

Fight through the fear. Reach for your loved one when they disappear into the darkness. Reach with love and understanding instead of judgment and criticism. Put yourself in each other’s shoes and empathize.

The storms never last forever. Do everything you can to hold on to each while the thunder claps and the lightning flashes because it will pass, and you don’t want to be standing alone when the sun shines again.

What to Do:

The darkness of life won't last forever.When you’re afraid and defensive, take a deep breath before you speak. You might find that a hug accomplishes far more than a speech about your feelings. A simple I love you might accomplish more than another worn out diatribe.  

Listen and keep connecting even in small ways. Take a walk. Watch the sunset or sunrise, and remember that every season passes. Even droughts come to an eventual end.

Isaiah 43: 1-4 (MSG)

But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.

Cheering for the One You Love

This is me.


This is also me.


This post is kind of about me, but it’s also about you and the one you love.

This childhood picture of me tells a story. The details behind that story aren’t essential, but their significance matters to me, and Steven knows it. He has listened to me talk about what this picture means, what it used to mean, and what it means for me now.

One thing I love most about Steven is that he never dismisses me. Ever. So when I show him childhood pictures of me and tell him what I believe God is showing me about myself both then and now, he gets excited with me instead of assuming I’m one small step away from traveling the world with this guy. (No offense, Jesus Man.)

 A Smily Guy Cheering for Jesus

In short, he cheers me on, and here’s an example of how he cheers me on.

Not long ago, he surprised me with a gift that signified all I’d been telling him about myself — about how I needed to shed parts of me that were broken and afraid and holding me back.

We’d been having conversations about how I let life change who I was in that childhood picture — a girl unafraid and barefoot who embraced life and loved every minute of it. The girl in that picture was full of excitement for each new day. She couldn’t wait to get outside and climb a tree or scale a jungle gym. She caught caterpillars and fireflies and roller-skated down neighborhood streets.

That was me.

I once lived to discover the possibility hiding in each day with a passion I’d since lost.

Maybe you can relate.

As life happened, I experienced tough times, and a heaviness crept close that I couldn’t shake. My heaviness became a dysfunctional best friend with whom it was time to part ways. I could feel God leading me back to my true self, back to that unafraid girl who was ready to take on the next challenge.

So, Steven came home from work one day, and he gave me this.

Sometimes cheering looks like this.

And, I cried.

I cried because he took all my words and listened to them. He heard me, and he took the time show me that he heard me. He found someone (Thank you, Chase Velarde!) capable of creating a visual inspiration to cheer me on my journey toward wholeness.

What did this picture say to me?

  • “I hear you.”
  • “I believe in you.”
  • “I’m cheering for you.”

So, while my husband IS amazing, and I don’t mind shouting about his amazingness to the world, I am sharing this with the hope of inspiring you to be amazing to the one you love, too.

  • We CAN create these moments for each other.
  • We CAN listen to each other.
  • We CAN inspire hope and cheer each other on as we journey through life together.

SO, What Now? 

Start here:

Listen to the one you walk through life with. Find ways to express your attention. Show your excitement. Believe in each other. Cheer for each other. Love each other.

And do it well.


Think about conversations you’ve had with your spouse.

  • What has he or she been saying?
  • What has he or she been feeling?
  • What does he or she need?
  • How can you support him or her?

Now do something.


The important thing is to impart empathy and affection and connection. The goal is to express:

  • You are present.
  • You are listening.
  • You care.

Ready? Go, and try it out!

*Be sure to come back and share how you found a way to cheer your partner on. We’d love to hear all about it.

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