• November 2022

    Beauty Realized

    I was sitting on the patio and looking into the wooded area at the side of our home. The grey and brown and gold of the autumn hardwoods were complimented by the emerald of the evergreens. A pleasant and quiet beauty drifting toward the barrenness of winter. As I let my gaze penetrate the depths, there was a flash of brilliant color: bright cherry red. I leaned forward to see what lovely growth might be nestled among the trees, wondering at its appearance here in the late and chilly fall. I was astonished to realize it was a plastic bag caught up in the undergrowth and trembling in the slight…

  • November 2022

    Because I Said So

    “Because I said so.” How often during my years of parenting small children did I want to give into frustration because I was tired of cajoling and explaining. I always felt that everything would go so much smoother if I could simply be trusted to call the shots. Afterall, I really did have more information and more experience than my children, right? Now, after twenty years in my career and countless employees and associates woven in and out of my sphere of influence, I am grateful to have learned that explaining why things have to be done a certain way promotes creative and critical thinking and engenders loyalty. I still…

  • November 2022

    Good News

    I had several meaningful encounters during our church gathering today. Poignant vignettes, each one a flare heralding the sweetness of God’s love. As a collection, they seem a veritable shout of heaven’s promise. I am humbled to realize that these precious saints are my brothers and sisters forever. We are connected by the Spirit of God in mysterious ways that only the ages to come will manifest. The surety of it wraps me in comfort and courage. I am comforted in the belonging, like a child who knows she is neither the beginning nor the end of matters. The story was unfolding long before and will continue to unfold long…

  • November 2022

    True Colors

    The changing of the leaves in autumn can be quite spectacular, if you live in an area of suitable climate to such a change. It is rather an interesting phenomenon. As the weather cools, the process of breaking down and replacing chlorophyll (which produces the green color) slows down and the other natural chemicals within the leaves reveal their true colors. As human beings, we are prone to using various types of camouflage, sort of like armor against hostile environments – places where we are not confident of our acceptance, or we are unsure of the rules. The way we dress, the manner in which we carry our bodies, the…

  • October 2022

    Still Praise His Name

    No matter how carefully we plan, things sometimes just don’t go accordingly. There are times when life can feel like a suspense thriller, with one “suddenly” after another, and, depending on your personality, that can either be exciting or terrifying. You wake up on a Sunday, pour that first lovely cup of coffee, planning to dress for church, put chicken in the crock-pot for your eldest and his wife and son, who are coming for dinner, and thinking the most challenging part of the day will be remembering to stop by the grocery after church to get fresh bread. Then the phone rings. Your mother-in-law’s neighbor is calling to let…

  • October 2022

    Dreamers

    We are dreamers, both of us. The sky had grown dark, and fire was flickering in the fireplace. We had been companionably quiet, my husband and I, for a long and lingering hour, when suddenly he said, “I’ve found it. Our cabin in the woods.” Following this declaration, he thrusts his tablet across to me. “Here. Take a look.” Eagerly but quite deliberately, I walked into each picture. The view down the tree-lined path leading to the front porch. The inside rooms, small and quaint. Taking the time to consider and imagine the two of us actually living there. We spent the next hour discussing the various possibilities and the…

  • October 2022

    Bring Everything

    When our father would return home from a trip, he would drop his bags in the kitchen floor and spread his arms. My sister and I would run into his warm embrace, not having dropped anything. We carried whatever we’d been holding at the time: a doll, a bouncy ball, a shoebox masquerading as a puppet theater, a bandaged finger or a scraped knee. Treasures to be shared and wounds to be comforted. It never occurred to us to withhold anything, because Daddy was big and good and kind and wise. We knew this without ever thinking about it. It simply was so. Child-like trust is precious. “Jesus called for the…

  • October 2022

    Always There

    I have two tattoos. This is personal, and not something I usually talk about. Whether you do or don’t, you probably have feelings about this type of artistic expression, and that is also personal and unique to you. For me, the two that I have are significant, were chosen with great care, and they are constant reminders to me. The process is not painless, but it does have permanent results. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” (Isaiah 49:16 NASB) This remarkable imagery also suggests permanence. Here God speaks to His people of His promise to keep them, to hold them, and to always be with…

  • October 2022

    Altered

    We went out to dinner last night and ordered hot tea to go with our Japanese cuisine. The ceramic cups were brought to us. Each one piping hot, filled with water and one tea bag. It is an interesting visual to watch tea being infused in a cup of hot water. Water turns into tea, and the transaction cannot be undone. “Infuse: to cause to be permeated with something that alters.” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary) We are altered, changed, by the presence of God. When we receive His salvation, the grace of His person infuses our being, and we are given new hearts, out of which flow the obedience of love. We…

  • September 2022

    Hope and Hurdles

    So, I was talking with my sister-in-law after church today, and she said something I just couldn’t resist expounding upon: “Isn’t it so kind of God to give us hope before the hurdle.” When track runners face hurdles, they take them at speed. They train relentlessly to build the muscle memory and strength required not only for running but also to develop the rhythm of lifting their bodies up and over hurdles without breaking stride. And, they learn that speed and confidence are their friends; for, if they lose speed or hesitate before meeting a hurdle, they risk injury. Does that sound a little bit like life? We often talk…