Can Christmas in April be a thing? Because today sure feels like it. We are like giddy sisters jumping out of our skin in excitement to share with you the gift of six new (in)courage writers! (Cue poppers and twinkle lights!)
For quite a while, we’ve felt like it was time to widen the circle and ask more women to pile into the (in)courage living room. We picture this virtual living room full of couches, overstuffed chairs, comfy floor pillows — a place where we can always scooch over to make more room, a place for belly laughter and passing boxes of tissues to catch our tears. In the living room, we lean in to hear stories that affirm our own experiences and to learn from perspectives unlike our own. Most importantly, this is a space that focuses on Jesus. We lean on each other’s shoulders and lift one another’s faces so that we can all see and remember that God is with us — right here, right now, always.
At (in)courage, we value building community, celebrating diversity, and becoming women of courage. There’s no doubt the six writers joining the (in)courage team will help us continue to do just that. Their voices, their stories, their words of joy and struggle and encouragement will be gifts we hope you enjoy unwrapping all year long.
Without further ado, please join us in welcoming six new contributors to the (in)courage living room! Let’s get to know them a bit in their own words.
Hi! My name is Aarti Sequeira, and if you heard me talking to you right now, you might have trouble placing the accent! Let me explain: I’m a third-culture kid — my soul is forever rooted in India where I was born, with blossoms in the Middle East where I grew up and attended a British-run school (which gave me an incredible education and the Queen’s accent), and now bearing fruit in the ultimate biryani pot, the United States. I’m married to a Boston Irish-American man, Brendan, my college sweetheart. We have two delightful daughters, Eliyah and Moses. We just uprooted ourselves from Los Angeles, our home of twenty years, to Raleigh, North Carolina. And of course, the most important identity of all, I was saved in my twenties by the one and only Jesus, and I have chased His heart ever since.
As a Food Network host and cookbook author, I try to take the unfamiliar and weave them into the familiar, drawing inspiration from spice bazaars, farmers markets, grandmothers, and chefs I love, all whilst singing His praises for giving us tastebuds and dinner tables. I see cooking as a privilege, a peek into the joy God feels when He creates.
My hope though is that you’ll get to know me as more than just a food-obsessed TV personality. I struggle with insecurity and imposter syndrome and have only recently trampled on the tentacles of postpartum depression. I simultaneously feel ill-equipped for dealing with the tensions of the world, and hopeful that I — that all of us — have been made for such a time as this. I’m praying that as I weep at His feet or run to His arms in fear or shake my fist at Him in anger, I may find you running along the same path. And I pray we’ll all find comfort, truth, and succor at the throne of the ever-living Almighty God. Glory glory glory.
Hello new friends! I am Jami Nato, here in the lush tropics of Kansas City. I have been married for twelve or fifteen years (I cannot remember numbers), have four children (ranging from fourteen to sixteen years old), and really like using parentheses! I am what I like to call “multi-passionate” as I like to renovate homes, be an entrepreneur, perpetually write a book I might never release, and run a coffee shop even though I don’t drink coffee (Why am I weird?). I tend to discuss heavier topics like our infidelity story or raising a special needs kiddo and then swing into humor, giving everyone a gentle whiplash for the day. I particularly love making light of items while shopping at Target, including and not limited to the unbearable swimsuit section each year in which the options range from 3 strings loosely tied to triangles or a full-body snorkel suit.
However people come to see me online or in person, I hope mostly they see I’m a soft landing place for the gospel. We all are so tired and wounded (especially after the year we’ve been in) and I want people to know that God’s love is for them — even now, especially now. I hope you get some laughs, but more than anything, I hope your love for God grows after you spend time with me.
Hey friends, I’m Kathi. And like most of us, my life is defined by contradictions:
- I’ve lived my whole life in the tech capital of Silicon Valley but ran away last year to the mountains with 2002-quality internet.
- I’m a full-time writer, who is severely dyslexic (thank God for editors).
- I love Jesus and sometimes struggle to make Him a part of my day-to-day life.
Yeah, I have issues. And if, by any chance, you do too, we’re going to get along just fine.
I’m crazy in love with my husband Roger (second marriage for both of us). When I’m not writing or podcasting about my favorite topic, clutter, and there isn’t a pandemic, we’re hosting writers, church leaders, and friends at our retreat center, The Red House, in the Sierra Nevada mountains with our ten-pound livestock guardian dog Moose and a bunch of chickens (Pictured is Pepper, who thinks she’s a rooster. Yeah, we all have issues.).
I’m honored to be here, and I’m looking forward to doing life and issues and Jesus with all of you.
Well, hey from Massachusetts! I’m Melissa and I grew up in California, went to school in Chicago, worked in the South, and now New England is home. I’m a proud aunt to seven nieces and a nephew and spend my free time walking around farms, hanging out with my friends at the Antique Store, and trying to capture everything in photos, film, and words. When we’re not in a pandemic, I also work as a tour guide at Orchard House, the home of Little Women. I’m a fan of anything historical, literary, and theological, but I also can get behind a good sandwich, belting to 90’s lady country in my car and making ridiculous Instagram stories. I’m single and grateful and certain that life is still plenty full without a ring on my finger (though I wouldn’t be mad about it if the right guy came along.)
The last two years have been some of the hardest as I’ve faced a whole lot of loss, grief, and loneliness, but I’m realizing that Jesus can be found in the rubble, too. We don’t need abundance to experience the abundant love of Christ, and He delights in us, even when it’s dark. Oh, and I also wrote a book and have a podcast, but honestly? They’re the least interesting thing about my life.
Let’s skip the small talk and share stories from the heart, yeah? My name is Rachel, but everyone who knows and loves me calls me Rae. I love deep and live hard, and I have a treasure chest spilling over with journals to prove it. I’m a New York girl living in North Carolina with my husband and two boys. I am a Manhattan mural of my own, swirling with African American, Native American, Irish, and Dutch descent. I didn’t always use my words to do good. I once filled pages of journals with soliloquies and secrets — ugly words spoken from the dark and deep inside of me. But then the Light broke through like a dawning sunrise, and now people tell me that my words help them breathe deep and feel known, and, really, that’s all I care to have my life count for.
I’m the creator of Indelible Ink Writers, an online community prompting people like you to bring forth bare words and brave art, and my first book on creativity as calling comes out next year! When I’m not playing hide-and-seek between the pages of a book, you’ll find me cupping porcelain filled with tea, all while writing poems, prose, and other pieces. And, sisters, it’s all joy, knowing my story is now colliding with all of yours.
My name is Simi. It’s not short for anything — just short and sweet like me (insert cheesy smile). For a long time I hated that my name was unique but didn’t have any meaning in my native Indian language. A few years ago, I discovered that in Hebrew Simi means abundance, and I was thrilled because my calling has always been to help people step into the abundant life that Jesus died to give them. My passion is to equip women to know who they are and live faithfully right where they are!
I was born in India, raised in Texas, and now I live in Oklahoma where my husband and I pastor a local church. We have two beautiful little humans, so naturally, I require a lot of coffee and chai. I also work as a full-time physical therapist. In my spare time (what?), I enjoy speaking and writing. In 2020 I published my first devotional, I Am Not: Break Free from Stereotypes & Become the Woman God Made You To Be. I love Jesus more than I can say, but to know that He loves me — all of me, not just the Instagram highlight reel — just blows my mind. I can’t wait to share with you about His love and grace in this space on the internet.
Anyone else wishing we could all pile into an actual living room right now for celebratory ice-cream sundaes and a big group hug? In the absence of being together in person, we give thanks for the gift of being connected as sisters in Christ in spirit. May God continue to knit our hearts together as His imperfect but perfectly-loved daughters.
Next week these six amazing women will each share their first article as an (in)courage contributor, so be sure to check back every day to continue to get to know them and be encouraged!
Welcome Ladies! To God be the Glory!
Welcome ladies…looking forward to doing life and loving Jesus with you all!!!
Exciting changes! I love seeing the diverse beautiful body of Christ!
Patricia Raybon says
Welcome everyone! So excited to journey with Jesus and you and all at this table!
Excited to welcome these ladies to the table. Can’t wait to hear what they have to share.
Welcome to the living room! I’m excited to see what God has in store for all of you as you join this thriving bunch.
Nina Maes says
This is awesome. I love how we as readers were given a little background on each one. To be honest, I only recognized one name Kathi Lipp. But now I feel like I know a little about each one. Great job on the introductions. Big fan of Incourage!!
Becky Keife says
Thanks, Nina! So glad you’re here!
Just. Wow. Welcome!
Oh My!!! I’m. Soooooo. EXCITED!!! I loved reading reading about each of the new contributors! I cannot wait to read their articles!! Being single AND a woman of color, it’s so neat to see the diversity. I love incourage. It’s been a constant for me.
Becky Keife says
We’re so glad you’re here, Jessica! I’m super excited to learn from and get to know our new writers too. Oh how we need each other’s stories and perspectives on this Jesus journey!
Barbara K Rothman says
I was so surprised & excited to see Aarti in the line-up!!! I have been a fan of yours since the Food Network competition!!! I’m so thrilled to know you are a sister in Christ!!!
Welcome to all of the special ladies! I’m looking forward to reading your devotionals & sit with a cup of coffee with you in the mornings! I live in Central Coast of CA.
Simi, wondering if your husband is a Pastor near Hugo, OK? Our best friends are moving there in a few months & will be looking for a church.
Melissa Ens says
If your intros are any indication (which I’m sure they are!) it’s going to be lovely getting to know each of you. Thanks in advance for bringing your hearts and sharing your stories with us. To God be the glory!
This is so awesome!!!
Welcome sisters and i look forward to the coffee reading and fellowship time. Blessings!
Lori Deen says
Thank you for each of you sharing your journey with us, warts and all! I look forward to traveling this journey called life until we see Jesus together !!!!!
Janet Williams says
Welcome Welcome Welcome \0/
Lillian McDougall says
Welcome laduies> I look forward to your contributions and know they will draw me closer to Christ! Thanks in advance.
Becky Keife says
You all know I’m doing a huge awkward happy dance!! Aarti, Jami, Kathi, Melissa, Rachel, and Simi — the (in)courage living room will be richer, wiser, more beautiful, and way more fun with you all here! Thank you for saying yes to (in)courage…for such a time a this. All my love!
Elaine Pool says
Welcome, ladies! Can’t wait to hear from you!
Beth C Clark says
What an amazing, diverse group of woman. Kudos for adding these smart and wonderful woman! I am excited to read more!
Aliza Latta says
Sisters!! We are SO excited to have you!
Delighted to meet all these charming Jesus lovers and to hear their stories
Mitzi White says
Welcome, Aarti, Jami, Kathi, Melissa, Rachel, and Simi. Looking forward to reading all your encouraging posts. (in)courage just keeps better and better! Thank you, Jesus!
Dawn Camp says
I am SO EXCITED!!! I loved hearing each of your stories in your own words and look forward to getting to know you better!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Wishing all the new writters God riches blessings. It is so good for them to join incourage. May they be richly bless in their writtings and write what God has given them to write on their heart and inspire them through the Holy Spirit. May we the reader be so blessed by what they write through the Holy Spirit and apply it to our lives and grow for Jesus. May the New writters for incourage grow for Jesus along with the other incourage reader’s. Every one of you incourage be a big blessings on Jesus and the world in this work you do for Jesus. Thank you so much for what you guys do. Keeping you all in prayer. Dawn Ferguson-Little Enniskillen Co.Fermanagh N.Ireland
Yvette Walker says
I’m new to (in)courage (not new to Dayspring!) and I am encouraged to see these new faces. And the diversity! I will be reading. And writing! Welcome.
What more can I possibly say than one big WOW!!!!
Becky Keife says
Right? Our sentiment exactyl! 🙂
Welcome Ladies! So, so excited to have new perspectives and lessons headed my way!
Beth Williams says
Welcome new writers. Aarti I thought I had heard of you before. Love watching you on Food Network while you judge contests. I know your writing will be just a spicy & wonderful as you are. Thankful for the rest of you. We are blessed to have such a great diversity of writers. People from various races, ages, parts of this country. I know you all have many varying experiences to share with us. Can’t wait to read your stories.
Martha Troxel says
Welcome! I am looking forward to reading your articles and getting to know you all.
Cindy Clayton says
They all sound amazing! I can’t wait to see what God has in store!
Bev Rihtarchik says
Welcome sweet sisters and sojourners in Christ. Special welcome to Aarti — to NC. I live in the Raleigh area and you will love the NC Farmers Market (and other smaller markets) for fresh fruits and veggies.
Can’t wait to hear how God uses you in this forum. I’m looking forward to living and learning through your words! God Bless sisters!!
Lynda Carter says
Jami Nato – you don’t know if you have been married 12 or 15 years?! As a math major and an OCD detail person – how can that be?! And 4 children ages 14 – 16? Some of the children in the picture look far younger than 14. I think there is a story or two there among those parentheses! Second marriages? Adoptions? Can’t wait to hear from you!
Jacqueline Bay says
What a privilege to meet all of your through your brief introduction. There are so many more layers I am looking forward to hearing through your upcoming contributions. We are all stories, some written in very dark ink with a myriad of doodles on the page and some with splashes of color with dark images overlapped. Whatever the case, we all have our “hard” that we navigate which is why I love stories. I love to hear the strength and resiliency of my sisters through the “hard” and laugh and smile through the sunny spots. Write on – be your own – love others and share our stories…that is life.
Woohoo! Super exciting! Welcome to you all!
When I read your names in the newsletter, I thought, ooh, Aarti like the cookbook author. I’ve made many things out of Aarti Paarti and they always turn out great. And then I read your bio and realized it was the same name because it’s the same lady! Yay!
martha trujillo says
Welcome Ladies! I’m so excited to read about all of you (and a new perspective on Aarti) and looking forward to reading all of your upcoming articles. This is great!
Patricia J. Snyder (Trish) says
Cannot recall how you entered my home/life but very thankful and grateful. Although I could be “grandmother” to most of you, I am loving your writings (I am a lover of words) and blessed to share your lives as you are being blessed more each day by our loving savior. There is so much to share on this journey we call “life” and I am eager to walk along side of you and watch you grow and grow and grow in Christ. Blessings.
SisterLucille Flores says
Christine Tangaro Cikutovich says
We give all honor & praise to Your holy name in Christ Jesus.
We pray for Your divine blessing & inspiration on all of these devoted women writer’s.
Please give them caring & compassionate ways. Help them with confidence, courage
and commitment to boldly share Your life-transforming Word. In Jesus Christ’s name,