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2018: The Year of Reclaiming Christ

It is hard to believe that another year is just hours away from being done. I think for many, 2017 was far from a perfect year, with natural disasters, flawed human choices, and news outlets constantly imparting the state of “crisis” our world is in. Combining this with personal struggles, a lot of my friends are happy to say, “Good riddance,” and “Get behind me, Satan.” My year was less than stellar, but I know I will try to look ahead to 2018 with more joy and hope than fear. ... Read More »

The Body of Christ is Everyone, Including Middle Schoolers!

The first email arrived in my inbox on June 20, 2017, from Floris’ worship leader, Megan Gumabay as a general distribution email and read in part as follows: “We have some exciting opportunities for volunteering with our student ministry.  Ashley is currently seeking adult leaders for upcoming student mission trips, and she felt praise team members would be great in this role…. Please contact Ashley or me if you want to discuss this in further detail with her.” I thought, hey I am pretty busy with my praise team and ... Read More »

Longing for Light in the Darkness

Some days, I have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. I watch the news and wonder if we will ever, ever figure out how to stop hurting one another. Advent is meant to be about longing, but I want to skip Advent and rush to Christmas because longing is messy and uncomfortable. We are yearning for the coming healing, we are hungry for the almost-but-not-yet Kingdom. On some days, the Kingdom of God seems very far away. As a follower of Jesus, uncomfortable feelings of sadness, anger and ... Read More »

What God Would Want for the Christmas?

What is the first Christmas you remember? The first Christmas I remember was when I was four years old. It was also the first time I went to church after being invited by my childhood best friend and her family. I think it was a Christmas Eve event for children, complete with a children’s pageant and nativity scene. I don’t remember all of the details, but I do remember Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Amazingly, I also remember what we sang that night: “Silent Night”. And of course, I ... Read More »

‘Tis the Season

It’s that time of year. Earlier this week I stopped to pick up butterscotch krumpets for my father-in-law and saw the familiar red kettle and heard the distinct bell ringing-the Salvation Army is out in full force. I stood in the checkout line and smiled as I watched the man in front of me ask for change. I knew exactly where he was going. Recently I discovered that the Salvation Army has its root in Methodism. In 1865, William Booth, a Methodist pastor in England, and his wife Catherine wanted ... Read More »

The Longer I Wait, the Deeper I Know

J.K. Rowling first dreamed up Harry Potter in 1990, while on a train from Manchester to London. She finished the story in 2007 with the final book in the seven-novel epic. Now, that’s a long story. Those who followed it all the way to its conclusion were held in suspense until the very last pages. We were all surprised by the ending — all of us, that is, except J.K. Rowling. She clearly had planned it all from the very beginning; she always knew how it would end. This is the ... Read More »

Humble Beginnings

This Thanksgiving was a simple one for our family.  It had been a rocky few months with work and potential financial setbacks that I defaulted to my most instinctual response to my world spinning out of control:  I wanted my family.  So, this year, we spent Thanksgiving with my mom, my younger sister, and my hero, my grandmother.  My grandmother is 90-years-old and will be 91 in January.  She still makes the best yeast rolls (a BIG pull to family meals at my mom’s house), looks like she may be ... Read More »

Nine Kinds of Generous

“Not speaking and speaking are both human ways of being in the world, and there are kinds and grades of each,” writes Paul Goodman in the Nine Kinds of Silence. “There is the dumb silence of slumber or apathy; the sober silence that goes with a solemn animal face; the fertile silence of awareness, pasturing the soul, whence emerge new thoughts; the alive silence of alert perception, ready to say, “This… this…”; the musical silence that accompanies absorbed activity; the silence of listening to another speak, catching the drift and helping him be clear; the noisy ... Read More »

Out of the Dust There is Life

When my girls were small, they thought I had magical healing powers. I could kiss a scrape or bandage a cut and presto! It would be “all better.” They would smile and go back to playing. Today, these girls are young women, and I no longer have that power. They spend their days working hard in places far from home, and when they hurt they’re on their own. They’re old enough to know that kisses do not work long distance, only in person. I’m grateful that my girls know that ... Read More »

Pursuing Silence: Confessions of a Phone Addict

I am alone the majority of my time and yet I struggle to find silence. Or perhaps it would be more accurate if I said I struggle to allow silence. When I say silence, I am not referring to the complete absence of sound. My house is quiet most of the day, often eerily so. I am defining silence in this case as a refuge from the onslaught of words, images, input from the outside world. I am constantly connected, a slave to the next ping or vibration indicating someone, somewhere has ... Read More »

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