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The Shack: Is Seeing Believing?

Did you see the movie, The Shack? The book just blew me away. Reading it a few years back, I marveled at the creative expression its author, William Young, used to tease out the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and their unique rolls in ministering to one of their beloved when tragedy strikes. The thing is, for me, reading is rarely believing. It may inspire me, but that doesn’t last long. But if you engage my other senses with sights, sounds, camera and action, things get real-er. That’s what ... Read More »

Not the Plan

This is not how it was supposed to go. This was not the plan, at least not my plan. She was supposed to graduate and come home, find a job in D.C. and live here for a few years while she saved money. Then she was supposed to move into a house in Ballston with a few friends. I mean, isn’t that what young people do? They come back home for few years, right? But in truth that was my plan, not hers and certainly not God’s. Instead she completed ... Read More »

Let’s Talk About Sex

At the ripe old age of twenty-two, I found myself pulled out of my shiny new classroom for a day of Family Life Education (FLE) training with dozens of other new hires in Fairfax County. I have to admit that when I chose a career in elementary education it never occurred to me that along with stem-and-leaf plots, I’d also be tasked with guiding tomorrow’s youth through the treacherous week known as FLE. This training included reciting body parts out loud until we stopped giggling, fielding obscene and downright confusing ... Read More »

When Heaven Touches Earth

Over the holidays, our home was brimming with joy and laughter, a continuously messy kitchen sink and the rustle of wrappings. All of the chicks were back in the coop as I like to say, and it was heaven on earth! We had some family game nights, competitive family card games and even an adventure to an escape room in D.C. where we were forced to work together to unlock the clues (and the door) to our room. But last week, my youngest adult child packed up his car and drove ... Read More »

The Tough Part About Parenting

I overheard the conversation while I was in the middle of doing something else. My son was with a group of boys his age who all happen to be on different swim teams. As they compared their stats, it became obvious that my son was the slowest. One boy couldn’t believe my son’s time. “That’s so slow!” he said in amazement. He didn’t say it to be mean. He didn’t say it to make fun of my son, to his credit, I think he was genuinely shocked about my son’s ... Read More »

Mom’s Job

Over the years, my mom has taught me many things. Because of her, I know how to do the laundry, how to clean a house, how to shave my legs, how to tell a story and how to write a resume. She taught me how to host a party and how to make friends. She reminded me to always overdress instead of underdress, and I still rely on her to dress me for most occasions. But of all the things that my mom taught me, one always stands out: “It’s ... Read More »

The Story of Camp Hutchison

Pastor Tom Berlin sat down to lunch with Hutchison Elementary School Principal Judy Baldwin one day early in 2011. Just down the street in Herndon, the school educates children from diverse backgrounds, many from homes with both parents working several jobs. Tom asked her, “What keeps you up at night?” Her response was “the summer.” She worried that many of her students didn’t have access to proper nutrition, adequate adult supervision or a way to maintain their learning over the summer months. By the end of their meeting, the idea ... Read More »

Bouncing Back

I’ve had a rough start this year. I feel a bit like the boxing clown toy that I had as a child—the one that when I would punch it, it would go to the floor but then bounce back so that I could render another punch. Most of us experience these seasons in which life seems to be more challenging than it should be. When we wonder, “When am I going to get a break?” I have found that unlike that clown toy, it’s actually pretty easy to stay down ... Read More »

Let’s Pray

We were all a mess. Everything felt really, really hard. My teenage daughter was struggling with a heavy burden and we simply didn’t know what to do next. We had come at this problem from every angle that made sense and nothing had changed.  She felt hopeless and overwhelmed and we felt powerless to make it better. It broke my heart to see the defeated look on her tear stained face, although it more accurately reflected the state of my own spirit than the mask of cheerful confidence I was ... Read More »

Being Real

One of my favorite childhood stories is The Velveteen Rabbit. The rabbit was given to the boy as a Christmas present one year. In the course of time the rabbit learns what it is to become real. The oldest and wisest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, tells the rabbit what it means to be real. He says, “It doesn’t happen all at once, You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have ... Read More »

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