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Name Them One by One

It was a brisk spring day on my college campus as I trudged alongside two of my best friends to the dining hall. With our empty stomachs and full backpacks, we all started to think about the countless hours of homework and studying that awaited us after we enjoyed dinner together. Soon, we verbalized our thoughts, turning our casual walk into a showcase in one-upmanship. We tallied up the assignments, readings and other time commitments, eager to prove how our own evening should evoke more dread than the others. We ... Read More »

Ready for the Fire

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:2. It reads, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” I found this verse when I was in high school and my best friend was going through a hard time. She was struggling with an eating disorder and a desire to end her life. I was terrified for ... Read More »

The Writing is on the Wall

Does anyone here read cursive? Apparently they’re not teaching it to most elementary school students these days. This has created quite a stir and not a small amount of dissension among ‘old-timers’ who don’t want this stalwart to go and ‘new-timers’ who say its time has passed. Recently, scientists have suggested that script handwriting, with its flow of connecting the letters, may tap into our learning and creativity in ways that printing and typing cannot. Old world meets new. Call me old-fashioned, but I do write in cursive when I pen notes and ... Read More »

Cats and Air Conditioning

A few weeks ago our twenty-two year old air conditioning unit decided it no longer wanted to function. As you may recall, this perfectly coincided with the worst heat wave our region had seen all summer, so the timing was impeccable. As is the case in Virginia in July, the heat was oppressive. But even worse was the stifling humidity. My husband and I decided to rough it out in the 100-degree temperatures by camping in the basement for a few days. While it certainly wasn’t convenient, we’ve endured worse ... Read More »

What God Doesn’t Do

God does so many things. He creates. He comforts. He guides and directs. But there are also many things God doesn’t do. God doesn’t do boring. God not only created birds, but he created birds that have found a way to live inside Home Depot stores, which makes shopping for lumber and potting soil so much more interesting. God doesn’t do plain. God not only created flowers, but he created over 400,000 different types of flowers. Roses, tulips, daisies, bleeding hearts, corpse flowers, lady’s slippers and sea poison tree flowers ... Read More »

Such a Time as This

One of my favorite Bible characters is Queen Esther. The story of Esther is full of intrigue, hidden identities, treachery, betrayal, a kindly uncle, spineless royalty, evil sycophants and the courage of one woman who risked her life to save her people. The book of Esther also has the unusual distinction of being the only book in the Bible that never specifically mentions God. Consider that little tidbit of Bible trivia a bonus. Through a series of circumstances not under her control, a young Jewish girl named Esther becomes the ... Read More »

The Pace of Progress

This summer I am teaching my daughter how to ride a bike without training wheels. If this sounds familiar, it’s because I taught her last summer as well. We didn’t quite get there the first time around, despite my high hopes. I had imagined her riding with her brothers down the cul-de-sac, finally able to keep up with the other kids in the neighborhood. I dreamed of taking bike rides as a family with everyone on their own bicycle. But that didn’t happen. Try as she might, she just couldn’t ... Read More »

Why I’m Glad I Write in My Bible

One of the reasons I prefer “real” books over Kindle books and other types of e-readers is my propensity to underline, highlight and make notes while I am reading. Something about the process of marking a particular word or phrase serves to cement the concept in my mind. My Bible is the place where I most often leave behind a trail of ink as I find particular words and verses meaningful. The Bible I use most frequently was a gift from my mother in 2000, so this book has been my ... Read More »

Journey to Utter Joy

Ommmmmmmmm. Imagine a room full of fourth graders breathing deeply and trying their very bests to balance on one leg without giggling. This was my introduction to yoga. Our teacher, Mr. Martin, was a free spirit from Mozambique who took time each day to push our tiny desks to the perimeter of the room and teach us a correct tree pose. There was a lot of muffled laughter and wobbly hips. Our daily practice ended abruptly when the principal got complaints from parents, but here I am, almost two decades ... Read More »

Uncertainty and Hope

It’s a funny thing to work on a church staff. You see trends ebb and flow. You see people join the church. You see people dig deep into their spiritual lives. You see the transformation that comes with surrendering yourself to God. On the other hand, you see people leave the church. You see people burn out or “give up” on God. You see the full range of human emotions. I attended a memorial service at the church a couple weeks ago. As I sang “Amazing Grace” with those that gathered to ... Read More »

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