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When Will I Get There?

I had the pleasure of taking a weeklong road trip with two of my best friends this past week for Spring Break. We travelled through several cities in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas for lots of hiking. There was one day of our trip that included a lengthy stretch of driving from Nashville, Tennessee, to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Let me start by saying we had a wonderful time hiking through the Ozarks in Arkansas and met beautiful people. However, the vast majority of Arkansas is not exactly a geographically diverse ... Read More »

Penny Candy

One of my most favorite things to do as a child was to walk to Clif Dawson’s Country Store.  Dawson’s was about ¾ of a mile up the road. To get there I had to cross the big two-lane, double-yellow-lined road; walk past my elementary school; go over the railroad tracks and cross another two-lane road. It was a very big deal to be old enough to walk to Dawson’s without a parent. Dawson’s in the 60’s and 70’s was a “variety” store—think 7-Eleven. They had just about everything there—newspapers, ... Read More »

Meeting Them Where They Are

I am always find myself interested in Jesus’ stories of healing or “sending out demons.” These are stories, when reading the Bible, that cause me to stop, to break or to pause. The interaction that Jesus has with the man in Mark 1:21-25 is one of these interesting stories. This healing occurs directly after Jesus calls the disciples. Could you imagine being these disciples? First day on the job, and there is a demon-possessed man. It would be like having to perform open-heart surgery on your first day in the ... Read More »

Why Every Mom Should Go To Sierra Leone

Last month at this time I was in Sierra Leone. It still feels a bit unreal. While it was only four weeks ago, the routine of day-to-day life has mostly returned to normal. Mornings are spent trying to get three kids ready for school while I myself try to get ready for work at the same time. In the evenings, I’m back to cooking dinner, checking homework and hanging up coats all while trying not to trip over the random toys scattered on the floor. To the outside observer, it ... Read More »

Slow Snow Days

I love snow days. I love the way sunlight reflects on snow. I love the way snow carpets the landscape and changes it into something sort of magical. To be fair, I don’t actually love the snow itself or the cold temperatures that come with it. You can take this California girl out of California, but…well, you know the rest of that phrase. What I love most is the way that a snow day slows down the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life. That shift into a slower pace ... Read More »

Hidden Communities

As I sat in the crowded Fellowship Hall listening to the familiar sounding facts, reminding us that we live in the second wealthiest county in the country, and yet have a significant homeless population, I was transported back to a mental slide show of moments of the last 10 years of my life.  The slide show took me to the training for my first visit to a maximum-security prison, where we were told to talk to the inmates like you would anyone else.  Another image was a meeting where I ... Read More »

New Shoes!

I have never seen such incredible, inexhaustible appreciation for such a simple necessity. Today, each child was given a brand new pair of running shoes, fit to their size. They were all so excited to have received a gift, especially the little ones who had thrown their shoes on and ran all around the room with them. They were jumping up and down with big, bright smiles on their faces while testing their limits. For us shoes are just a common commodity. Everyone has them, and that’s that. Here, the ... Read More »

Battling Mental Illness

On the news again, another attempted murder-suicide, but this time an elected official was involved.  Too often these days, we read or hear of the mentally ill killing, or trying to kill, innocent people.  Whenever I learn of something like this I stop and say a silent prayer of thanks.  Thanks that this time it didn’t involve my son.  You see, in 2002 he was arrested for breaking and entering when he was off his medication for the serious mental illness from which he suffers.  Less than 36 hours earlier ... Read More »

A More Joyful Christmas

Soon it will be Black Friday followed by Small Business Saturday followed by Cyber Monday. If you don’t want to have Too Late Tuesday followed by Wish I Would Have Not Spent So Much Wednesday, you have to do some thinking and planning now. And that is just about your wallet. The other item you are considering right now is your calendar. Your wallet and your calendar are places where important spiritual decisions are made. In light of that, I want to offer ten pre-Thanksgiving ideas that will lead to ... Read More »

Getting Myself Back

In high school and early college, I was sick enough to miss school only one time. I often stayed up until 2 a.m. finishing AP homework just to wake up at 6 a.m. to go to school. After school and on the weekends, I worked a part-time job, did activities, went to the gym and hung out with friends. Nothing ever stopped me from accomplishing my goals. Then my life changed before senior year of college when I developed chronic anxiety. That summer was the hardest time of my life. ... Read More »

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