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No Parking Any Time

I don’t believe in the New Year’s resolution thing. However, I am a big fan of finding certain words to focus on at the beginning of a new year. Usually I pray about it and ask God to show me what I need to work on. Surprisingly, this year my focus words are not from the Bible. What a shock! Actually, God gave me words based on his ideas but not in his book: “No parking any time. Keep moving.” I have found over the years that I have a ... Read More »

Continuous Change

So I spent some time in the book of Acts recently. I delved into Acts based on something I learned at a training class I attended in New Jersey. Specifically, I read about Peter’s interaction with Cornelius found in the tenth chapter. In this chapter, Peter makes the decision to include gentiles in the work of Jesus. Peter and many of the early church founders saw their movement as a Jewish movement, not one that would include gentiles. Yet, God implored Peter to look beyond his Jewish roots. As Peter ... Read More »

Have a “New” Year

The New Year is often a starting point for folks to make positive changes in their lives. Gym memberships skyrocket, a ridiculous amount of kale and kombucha is purchased at grocery stores and people order the latest and greatest athletic clothes and gadgets. You see a lot of new shoes on runners in January. By the way, kale is gross. If you say you like kale, I just assume you’re lying. The excitement for change often collides with the steps necessary to achieve change and thus most changes rarely last ... Read More »

When You Need a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace

On the first Sunday of Advent in 2008, we received a call that my father had finally lost his battle with alcoholism. The next week or so, as we drove back and forth to North Carolina to make funeral arrangements, I struggled with the swirl of emotions: grief, loss and sadness mixed with anger and regret. Here I was in the midst of this fresh loss right smack in the middle of the Christmas season, and everything felt raw. Christmas was hard that year. That year, I found particular comfort in the ... Read More »

A Quieter Christmas

The Sears’ catalog was already marked and dog-eared by the time it got to the youngest child. With a sheet of notebook paper I would make my list for Santa, carefully offering page and item number along with a brief description. I was unusually attentive to the task. No need for Santa to blow the one shot a year he had to make Christmas special for me because of poor penmanship or insufficient information. I’m not sure what I did with those lists or how I thought Santa would get ... Read More »

Thank You for Letting Us Sing to You: Confessions of a Choir Crasher

You’ve heard of party crashers and wedding crashers, but perhaps you have never heard of a choir crasher. That’s me, the person who, back in the doldrums of September as election campaigns were still in full swing, shorter days and longer nights were just beginning to descend and Christmas trees were not yet at Lowe’s, I began to wonder in earnest … What can I do to make this season feel more like Advent? A clear and undeniable suggestion came to mind: join the Floris UMC Cantata choir. Don’t get me ... Read More »

Being Christian at Christmas

It’s already December—how did that happen?! Just a minute ago, I was packing a U-Haul to take my son to his new apartment at college, and now I have to finalize my plans for Christmas before it’s too late! As my calendar slowly fills for the month (company holiday party, nonprofit fundraiser, professional networking events, holiday celebration nights out with friends, dinner parties), and I save a few late nights for shopping, wrapping and baking, I wonder, when can I fit in Jesus? Despite attempts to try and simplify the ... Read More »

Expectations for a “Perfect” Christmas

Advent has begun once again. We have returned from our Thanksgiving travels, and the Christmas lights are twinkling throughout the house. I have retrieved my Advent devotionals from their spot on the highest shelf in our bookcase, and here I sit once again pondering the meaning of Advent. Longing. Waiting. Expectation. Mystery. The words of Advent sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable in our hurried, instant gratification world. With Siri at the ready to answer any question with the push of a button and Amazon available to deliver almost anything to ... Read More »

Giving Thanks: An Act of Self-Care

How do you give thanks when you are feeling low? In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, I lacked my usual enthusiasm, instead passively waiting for Thursday to arrive. Last year, my aunt brought a gratitude journal to dinner to record our collective thoughts. Everyone more-or-less wrote the same things: health, happiness, family and iPhones. But this year my family weathered some severe storms: aggressive cancer treatments, substance abuse and addiction, debilitating depression and anxiety and much more. I expect the mood will be different at dinner ... Read More »

A Celebration of Light

When I grew up in Seoul, Korea, there were war drills. Yes, war drills. On the fifteenth of each month, we had a short 30-minute war drill. Sirens went off, and cars and people had to stop in the middle of the streets, or wherever they were, to hide. Also, there was a special drill at night once or twice a year for an hour when no one was allowed to turn any lights on in their homes. When I was very young, the night drills scared me. My mom, ... Read More »

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