The church was quiet. It was 7:45 on a Wednesday night, and here gathered were believers who had come to have ashes marked across their foreheads. The songs were meditative, reflective. The tone hushed. An older woman walked up to read from the Bible. Her body is not as strong as it was when she was a young girl helping to sheer sheep on her family’s farm many miles from here. Her voice shook a little but the words still came out clearly. I turned…Continue Reading “Emotional Faith”

The house is quiet. My boys crashed when we got home from the birthday party last night. Pizza and friends and brownies and Pokemon and painting, followed closely with heavy eyes and jimmies and patterned breathing. Do they feel the years running through their fingertips like I do? I fell asleep early, too, but my body desired to extend the hours of that sweet winter hibernation when my alarm called loudly this morning. I gather my books and my phone, put on a hoodie and…Continue Reading “When Enemies Threaten”

There is nothing quite like the New Year to draw out the realization that I don’t do things the way I wish I would or could. Perhaps you can relate? We have regrets of how we didn’t do certain things right in the past year, so we determine to fix that with a resolution. We have high hopes for our performance in the new year, only to realize two weeks in that sticking to a “better” way of doing things is really, really hard, and…Continue Reading “New Year’s Humility”

There was a lot of bustle around out house yesterday. Making Cinnamon ornaments. Outlining the frame of our garage and front doors with tiny white lights. Cutting Christmas cookies. Getting our hands gooey and sweet with powdered sugar icing. There was a lot of doing.  There was a lot of being. And we were all together. I loved it. But it was the end of the day that I think I treasured most. The house was quiet–I could hear the ticking of our clock again….Continue Reading “Homemade and Slow”

Most of us know that Advent is a time to prepare. It is a special time set aside to prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming. But we’d better not forget these either: Prepare the gifts for giving. Prepare the food for serving. Prepare the cookies for decorating. Prepare the tree for showcasing. Prepare the photos for sending. Prepare the songs for singing. Prepare the house for hosting. Prepare the clothes for wearing. I DO love the preparing. However, my head starts to spin and my…Continue Reading “Preparing to Prepare”

Oh praise Him/ Oh praise Him/ He is holy/ He is holy/ la la lala lala… That old song that I first heard when I was dating the man who would become my husband… That old song that we had seen in concert at least three times… That old song that I sang each night to my toddling first born as I put him down to sleep… I sung that old song tonight. That toddler is seven now: a boy who thrives on responsibility and…Continue Reading “Oh Praise Him”

Her sweet green eyes squinted up at me while her messy hair wisped over her shoulders. “So, when is it going to start?” We had been outside with the second grade class of Room 20 for the last fifteen minutes. The kids had looked through special glasses, mastered the use of tilt paper, and peeked through holes in shoe boxes. “It’s been happening,” I replied.  “Remember when it got kind of darker a few minutes ago? The moon has been passing in front of the…Continue Reading “That’s it?”

The kitchen was messy on Friday. The toaster was still on the counter from the morning. The clean dishes in the dishwasher needed to be put away so that the pile of dirty dishes in the sink could be cleaned. There were bagels next to the kindergarten homework folder… next to three half-full glasses of water with straws standing tall… next to a document I needed to return to my son’s preschool… next to the cantaloupe rinds that were supposed to be taken to the…Continue Reading “Haze”

I was alone in my friend’s kitchen, rinsing off strawberries and slicing them up to serve over ice cream, when I heard the topic for the group’s discussion announced: raising counter-cultural teenagers. Did I hear that right? Most of the people gathered were parents of babies, toddlers and 2nd-graders. Were we really talking about teenagers tonight? I was thankful to be in the other room so no one could see the fear behind my eyes. Parenting through the teen years is something I am scared…Continue Reading “Teenagers?!?”

My family and I were just returning from a long trip: an extended family reunion in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. Plane flights and shuttle buses and car rides and lots and lots and lots of family. July 4th was the first time we were riding in our own car in 11 days. It felt so good to be back in our old “friend”………. except for that moment that the warning light came on accompanied by a loud beep telling us that our rear tire was…Continue Reading “So Worried that you can’t say Anything”