Courtney Ellis headshot

Author. Speaker. Pastor. Host of “The Thing with Feathers Podcast.” Encourager, inspiration-giver, laugh-bringer. Displaced Wisconsinite soaking up the sun in California.

The Thing with Feathers Podcast (Facebook Cover) (1) copy

Check out The Thing With Feathers, all about birds and hope with a variety of special guests (this season includes folks from the Audubon Society, Birding magazine, Disciple Science, Birds & Blooms, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Wilson Ornithological Society, as well as people of faith who bird like Fernando Ortega, Kay Warren, Susie Finkbeiner, and Patsy Clairmont!)

Find it on Apple, Google, Anchor, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Amazon Music. Subscribe today!

books by Courtney Ellis (1)

Present: The Gift of Being All In, Right Where You Are

Happy Now: Let Playfulness Lift Your Load and Renew Your Spirit

Almost Holy Mama: Life-Giving Spiritual Practices for Weary Parents

and Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul. All are from Tyndale House/Hendrickson Publishers.

Encouraging a wide range of crowds is my jam, from speaking on podcasts and radio stations coast-to-coast, to bringing the faith-filled fun to high school getaways, to guiding leadership retreats for church professionals, college students, women’s groups, or retirees. If you want to laugh, be refreshed, and find inspiration, I’m your woman!

(And do I do virtual events? Yes, I do. And they’re awesome.)

My husband Daryl and I serve at Presbyterian Church of the Master in southern California, where we revel in joining Jesus at work.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Present is a story about the gift of stability, the grace of limits, and the joy of presence. In a transient world clamoring for more and bigger and better, how does God meet us at the ends of ourselves? After years of travel, cross-country moves, and climbing ladders, author Courtney Ellis discovers the call of God to something quieter, deeper, and far more lasting.

How can we receive the gift of being all in, right where we are?

March 2023 with Tyndale House. Foreword by Aarik Danielsen. Available at Tyndale, Christian Book, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or anywhere books are sold.


Praise for Happy Now 

“Courtney Ellis offers a rare, timely combination of sound theology, personal transparency, accessible style, and sharp wit. The world needs more writers like Courtney, and readers need more books by her.”  –Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books 

“What if they knew we were Christians by our play? Read on and catch the vision.” —Aarik Danielsen, Fathom Magazine

“Jesus said that the way of faith is becoming like a child, and in Happy Now Courtney Ellis shows us how. Through honesty, wisdom, and humor, Ellis invites us to practice the healing, renewing posture of playfulness. Maybe faith actually was always meant to include fun.” —K.J. Ramsey, author of This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers

This book is brilliant! Deep, light, entertaining and practical. It is truly an invitation into a more joyful and God-filled way of life. –Anna Woofenden, author of This is God’s Table

Can you imagine God playing? What about dancing, singing, and laughing–with you? During times of suffering, we need God’s smile more than ever. Faithful, encouraging, hilarious, and heartfelt, Happy Now reminds you that playfulness can be holiness . –Catherine McNiel, author of Fearing Bravely

Happy Now is a gorgeous, imaginative, and liberating reminder that God is not only concerned with our holiness but with our enjoyment of him and his good gifts. Courtney demonstrates how playfulness enriches us soul, mind, body, and spirit. — Alicia Akins, author of Invitations to Abundance

Courtney Ellis does it again! –Cara Meredith, author of The Color of Life

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Praise for Almost Holy Mama 

“Courtney Ellis tells the truth about parenting–and believes that woven through the joys and the chaos is an opportunity for holiness.” –Catherine McNiel, author of Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline

“Almost Holy Mama is what tired mamas like me have been looking for: how we find God in the lives we inhabit (not the ones we used to have or might have ten years from now). I can t wait to share this book.”  —Elizabeth Hagan, author of Birthed: Finding Grace through Infertility

“Courtney Ellis is a relatable guide to your Lego-strewn journey with Jesus through the challenging early years of parenting.” –Michelle Van Loon, author of Born to Wander

“What a gift this book is for parents, for families, and for the churches they belong to.” –Ryan Hamm, senior writer at Open Doors USA

“Ellis reminds us of two things simultaneously: that the spiritual disciplines are serious business, and that there’s no reason we can’t have a holy sense of humor about our occasionally stumbling attempts to practice them.” –Kevin McLenithan, film critic and cohost of the Seeing and Believing podcast

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Praise for Uncluttered

“Ellis offers us a winsome, challenging, instructive, and inspiring engagement for re-discovering the freer, fuller life that all of us are longing for.” –Tod Bolsinger, Vice President, Fuller Seminary

Uncluttered is a practical and profound work, tailor-made for this era of noise and busyness.” –Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, author of Start, Love, Repeat

“In Uncluttered Courtney Ellis does what our time, image, and productivity obsessed culture tells us is impossible.” –Nicole Caldwell-Gross, pastor of Missions and Outreach at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

Uncluttered is a funny, nonjudgmental, down-to-earth guide not just for clearing out junk, but for laying hold of freedom.” –Aubry G. Smith, author of Holy Labor