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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 »

God’s Work is Done by Many Different Hands

Not only was this my first trip to Haiti, it was also my first mission trip of any kind.  I couldn’t help but feel the power of God once I set foot on the work site.  The site was set adjacent to the school and we were immediately welcomed by the school children, the school staff, and the local workers who had already assembled at the site and had already broken ground on the project. It was easy to understand the importance of our mission when we looked into the ... Read More »

No Signature Necessary

“I hope the sights and sounds of Haiti will long linger in my heart and mind:  early morning roosters crowing, late-night drums beating, dogs barking, men, women and children chattering, motorcycles revving, cars, trucks and Tap-Taps beeping, marketeers calling, goats bleating, children laughing, singing, jumping, running, men embracing, joking, back-slapping, melodic greetings of ‘Bonjour,’ ‘Bonswa,’  ‘Kijan ou rele?’  These are beautiful memories of a beautiful place and people to not be forgotten. The return home demands attention to different sights and sounds so that over time, the fresh memories made ... Read More »

Generosity in Cuba

We had just finished a delicious dinner of rice, beans, pork and fruit, when Inervis, the leader of the camp crew, asked us to join her and the fellow staff members in the yard. It was our last night in Camp Canaán, which is where our group spent the majority of our time during this 10-day mission trip to Cuba.   Much of our journey included getting to know the people and culture of the country while sharing resources collected in America with a variety of small village churches. However, this ... 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 »

Why I Go Pink

As I write this, I am sitting in a salon chair with pink dye drizzling down my neck. Once a year, my typically blonde hair is transformed to a new hue of bubble gum, and it tends to lead to raised eyebrows. Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to explain myself. It started six years ago. A meeting ended and a fellow teacher turned to me and said, “By the way, I have cancer.” Some might balk at the bluntness of this delivery, particularly considering the fact ... Read More »

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