Ever want to share an experience, but when you try, it’s like you’re back in grade-school writing a theme called something like “Why It’s Important to Help Others”?
For weeks, I’ve been trying to synthesize my thoughts following a three-day outreach project I did with Caroline, my daughter. It would have been simple to post a dozen pictures of the team sorting food and clothes, delivering meals, making crafts, praying with people. I could have come up with a few quick captions. But my fear is that sometimes pictures AREN’T worth a thousand words or at least not exactly the right words. Read More
Boys and girls come out to play! The moon is shining as bright as day!
Leave your supper and leave your sleep, and join your playfellows in the street!
When my kids were little, we had one of those CDs of Mother Goose songs that was played every day during every car ride. You’d drop the kids off at nursery school and feel the need to detox, maybe with some 80’s hair metal. Years later, I no longer go around thinking about Mary’s little lamb or Aunt Rhody’s unfortunate goose, but somehow that one song above has stuck with me. It has worked its way into my brain as the siren call to leave behind the drab, duty-bound adult world and enter into play and creativity. I catch myself humming it when I feel the drumbeat of a fresh writing idea, not necessarily this kind of writing but the other kind that dares me to be a raucous, wild child for awhile, to fly off to Neverland in my mind. It’s the call to make art in bold splashes. To make music in a riot of sound. To let prose or poem spill from one journal page to the next. Without critic. Without editor. Read More
On Monday, I wrote a Facebook post about the after-Easter-weekend slump. I wanted to remind people that after a high-energy time, it’s normal for creativity and motivation to be low, and that’s OK. The fact that today I’m writing about toilets, much to the chagrin of my brainstorming partners (a.k.a. my kids), pretty well proves I’m right there in the slump with everyone else. I do find it both appropriate and funny, though, that immediately after I posted on Facebook, I met with the plumber about replacing some old, small, and frequently problematic toilets at our house: appropriate because it does feel like creativity has been flushed away, so toilet-shopping is the perfect thing to do, and funny because toilet-shopping inevitably reminds me of our final weeks in Taiwan several years ago. Read More
As we head into Easter, I’ve invited my friend Cayli Pankratz to share her thoughts on forgiveness. I got to know Cayli when she and her husband Stephen began leading a home-based Bible-study group through our church. I’ve always been impressed that she encourages those of us in the group to ask tough questions like “Is ‘forgive and forget’ actually biblical or just something Christians say?” and then helps us dig into God’s Word for the answers. A full-time mom, pastor’s wife, and lover of chocolate, coffee, and the outdoors, Cayli has a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has been a Bible teacher in various ways for the past 9 years. I think you’ll be encouraged by what she has to say!
“I know I need to just forgive and forget, but…”
“I know that God says we should forgive and forget, but…”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sat with someone who was wronged significantly, was experiencing deep pain, and was saying words just like those through their tears. Read More
When I was six, my dad took a sabbatical from the college where he taught to focus intensely on his doctoral dissertation. One of his first orders of business? He planted a garden. He laughingly told me years later that he was concerned my little brother and I would think, “Our dad doesn’t have a real job,” since he was now researching and writing from home at a time when most dads headed out each day to some mysterious place called “Work.” So he planted a massive fruit and vegetable garden in our yard and had the whole family out there learning to plant, cultivate, and harvest. It was a year of wonders—and lots of mud tracked into the house (sorry, Mom)—but mostly, wonders! Read More
Last week we looked at how God uses our “day jobs” to transform us into people who embrace our callings. Colossians 3:12-14 became a job description of what it means to put on “spiritual work clothes” and show up with love in the lives of other people. This week, let’s look at one of those spiritual garments that may determine whether we move forward with maturity in our relationships or stay stuck where we are, smacking into the same obstacles. It’s the garment of humility. Read More
About two weeks ago I spent time speaking to a wonderful group of people about what it means to find purpose in life. We laughingly adopted the phrase “Don’t quit your day job” as a reminder that God often uses the day-to-day stuff of living to strengthen and grow us into people who can fulfill the dreams He puts in our hearts. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share what we talked about in our quest to live with more purpose, lead with more grace, and love with more heart. Read More