Monday, August 31, 2015

Walk Anyway: The 2015-2016 Walk to School Campaign

We're back in business: the Walk-to-School campaign is alive and well. Why? How can this be since so many of our neighborhood children are now in college, high school, or middle school? Well, I still have an eager 5th grader, and we're gathering more families to walk the one mile to our elementary school.

What's so great about this year is that we are walking even if we don't have children to walk to school! I'm serious! We've invited a homeschooling family, families with toddlers, and families who have children in other schools. It doesn't matter; we're walking anyway.

Are you within a 30 minute walk to school? If so, you can gather the neighbors, too!

If you haven't started a walk-to-school campaign in your own neighborhood, I recommend it whole-heartedly. It's changed our lives. We've deepened friendships, gained good health, and enjoyed connecting with children on the mile walk to school. It's an investment. It's a sacrifice of time. But walk anyway.

Fill your thermos with coffee. Meet some new moms and dads. Meet the children in your neighborhood and walk. If you can, I pray you do. Encourage the children. One day, in forty years, they'll tell their own children about the time they grew up in a neighborhood where the families walked them to school because it was that important.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I arrive at the picnic that kicks off our semester of Penn State Christian Grads. I gather with many new Ph.D. students who have more enthusiasm and intelligence than you can imagine. I'm so thankful to live in a world where people devote their lives to understanding and then advancing various fields like autism and communication, applied linguistics, mechanical and environmental engineering, statistics, food science, math education, physiology, nursing, biobehavioral health, and too many other programs to mention.

I listen to the way students live in complete fascination and utter curiosity about their disciplines and how, one day, their research can help so many others. I think about the sacrifices they make to do the work they do here at Penn State. I'm inspired again about the joy of learning, of hard work, and of rigorous investigation. It is so exciting to see these new students filled with wonder and worship and the kind of passion that makes an entire university work.

I want to love and support graduate students even more. Go love a graduate student!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Gift of Hope

I remember how years ago I learned that the Holy Spirit is always a voice a hope. I learned that I could ask God for hope; in fact, I discovered a precious prayer in scripture. It reads this in Romans 15:13: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

This is the verse that continues to free my heart. I know a God of hope who, by the power of an incredible Spirit fills us to overflowing with hope by an inexplicable power. Can you imagine living a life of joyful and confident expectation of good things?

It's so hopeful!

Hope! Oh, hope! I look at my succulents in the windowsill where I wash dishes. I've washed so many dishes in states of complete hopelessness in my life. I've stood there at the window gazing into an abyss of despair and meaninglessness and darkness. And then--Hope called my name. I look at the one plant I almost discarded because it truly looked dead. But then I remember that succulents thrive on neglect; they harbor secret resources I know nothing about. So I'm standing there, thinking about hope, and I see the dead plant sprouting once again.

I was thankful to see it. I was thankful for hope.

And while we're on the subject of hope, I'll tell you this: Last night, I strolled in the park with friends and looked out into the wild forest underneath a perfect moon. I imagined the beauty and mystery within this tangled wood, and I remembered the enchanting beauty of hope.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Something Leisurely

I had some hours of true rest today, and I knew it. How? I knew I was resting because of one adjective: leisurely. I leisurely picked raspberries. I leisurely read. I leisurely walked. 

No hurry. Relaxed. No pressure. 

If it's not leisurely, it's not restful. I knew the difference as I stood there picking raspberries just because the sun felt warm and they were ripe and bright. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2 Professional Questions

As students build professional materials--including resumes, cover letters, and mission statements--we ask good questions to help uncover strengths and talents we might not know we possess.

We ask: For what reason do people request your input or service? 

We share our answers, and we learn how our community perceives us and what we offer.

We also ask another question that I find so enlightening: What motivates you to do your best at your job? 

These two questions help students think deeply about who they are and why they do what they do. I find myself challenged to answer the second question. What does motivate me? Certainly not money (if you know anything about college instructor pay). Certainly not prestige. What then?

I think it's love. I'm motivated to do my best because of love of subject, love of student. That hasn't changed in all these years.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

As Yourself: David's Stones

This morning I read the familiar passage in 1 Samuel 17 of the young David's defeat of Goliath with the stone and the sling. 

I'm struck once again with how God used David just as he was. Of course others suggested sophisticated weaponry and clothing, but none of it felt comfortable to David because he "was not used to them." 

He moved forward in God's strength as himself--in his shepherd's outfit and pouch. How silly it must have seemed to both the Israelites and the Philistines! How embarrassing! 

But David secures a great victory in this authentic moment. 

When God gives a new assignment, especially an intimidating one, I'm always tempted to copy great people or slowly become a different, artificial leader because of who I think I'm supposed to be. But young David's victory reminds me again to stand as myself with my own stones in hand. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Today a friend reminds me of what powerful things happen when we allow for spontaneity. 

We discuss this in terms of the early church and the spontaneous growth that came about. This seemed like an out-of-control situation, but really, it was High Control if you think about it.

I recall how controlling I am and how I haven't lately allowed for impulsive or uninhibited behavior. I remember how often the Holy Spirit seems to work in just this way. I wonder what I'm squelching and what I'm stamping out of this kind of power simply because I resist the spontaneous.

Monday, August 24, 2015

If There's No Time for Wonder

It's a busy time of year with back-to-school, teaching assignments, and writing. Add in cleaning, meal planning, clothing shopping (children grow!), and connecting with neighbors, and it seems like there's no time to reflect or truly enjoy resting in moments of wonder. 

I need wonder. I run on wonder.

So as I sit at my desk completing the least wonder-inducing activities of all including administrative work, I see the vase of eucalyptus to my left. I love the smell of eucalyptus. I love that once, my mother told me that it would keep spiders away, so for years, I kept eucalyptus by my bedside.

Eucalyptus has always been by my side in one way or another. Whenever my husband and I moved to a new home--or even if we had an extended stay somewhere--he always purchased some eucalyptus to make the place just like home. 

I stop for a few minutes to learn about this strange little plant that's not little at all. In fact, it's one of the tallest plants on earth. It drains much water from the soil (good to prevent mosquitos and malaria). So far, I'm not filled with wonder yet, but then I learn how most eucalyptus trees shed their bark once a year.

This photo is a Rainbow Eucalyptus that looks like this when the bark sheds.
Photo courtesy of Forest and Kim Starr 

A rainbow inside! Underneath the boring bark is this? I have some wonder now.

But then, then, I read how the eucalyptus survives fire that can often occur in the Australian forest. You will not believe this: The plant keeps dormant shoots that only germinate after they've been triggered by the heat of the fire. The plant has a hidden inner plan especially designed to spring to life in case of fire. I repeat: The plant has fire insurance.

Oh, I want to be like the eucalyptus! Burn me--by insult, injury, disappointment, or loss, and I know how to send out new shoots that wait for this kind of heat. And when I feel stripped bare, it's only to reveal the rainbow. I love my eucalyptus plant! It does so much more than keep the spiders away!

I had time for wonder today after all. There's nothing to fear in this kind of world where loss showcases beauty and what came to destroy only precipitates new life.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My New Verb in Scripture

All year, I've been examining how God guards our lives. The verb, guard, appears all over the Bible. But it presents as protect, watch, keep, to save, and to treasure. It's all the same verb in the original language. 

I'm fascinated with the truth that God guards our lives. I love how I find it again this morning in Psalm 116:6. It reads, "The Lord protects the simple hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me."

God stands guard over our lives. I ask for more and more faith to see this and to know it's true. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

So Excited for Freshmen

After all these years, I'm still so excited to teach first semester freshmen. There's this sense of overwhelming possibility, of a fresh start, of crafting an adult life, and of hope.

Can you remember your freshman year of college and that first classroom with that first professor? Can you remember wondering if you could really do this? That first night in your dorm room bed you looked up at the ceiling and thought, "I'm really here. Nothing will ever be the same back home again."

That night at the University of Virginia in the fall of 1993, I had as much happiness and joy as I had fear and a sense of being lost at sea. (They are not freshman at UVa; they are first years.)

I found my way. Every day, I knew this new me more and more, and I gradually adapted. It was little things that made all the difference: having someone to sit with in the dining hall, seeing a familiar face in a large lecture hall, and having an instructor know my name.

So I am already memorizing their names. I'm on the other side now, but I remember exactly what it felt like to walk in that college classroom and hear things that professors said that shaped my adult life. On my bookshelf beside me as I write, I keep my freshmen textbooks right here. My Norton Anthologies have my writing all throughout them in the margins.

And I have the journal I kept that freshman year where I know--through poems and letters and quotes and snippets of wisdom--all the angst and wonder and love and fear that make up that freshman year.

So when I walk past the groups of them, I remember myself back then.

I'm so excited to meet them.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Always Infusing

I'm currently obsessed with mint and lime infused water. I chop up my fresh mint from the garden, slice up some lime, add ice, fill the water bottle with water, and enjoy. I refill the water all day long. The next morning, I repeat this process with fresh mint and limes.

I'm finally able to stay hydrated with joy. Something about a well-infused mint-lime water just gives me so much energy and refreshment.

So I'm addicted to something good for me for once.

And I'm delighting in the verb "infuse" which means filling, pervading, and pouring into. I think about my own environment and what kind of flavor and essence I add to it. I want to infuse all the life, hope, and joy that's in me outward to others.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Special Walk

Today my daughter and I took a very old dog on a lunchtime walk because her family was traveling for the day. When you walk a very old dog, you go very slowly. It was drizzling as we walked this slow journey, so the three of us looked pitiful--the black dog with shaking limbs and us shuffling in the mist.

My daughter pet her the whole time and encouraged her. We talked about aging and how it's hard to grow old. It's hard to think that one day, she was a bright, eager puppy and now, perhaps a decade later, she's barely able to stand on her own. But we can love her and give her treats and help her into her special spots.

I loved our rainy, slow walk together. We'll return in the evening and the three of us will care for each other again.

The slow walk on this otherwise busy day (what day isn't a busy day?) made me consider pausing and walking alongside others much more deliberately and carefully. It takes longer to love and give treats and help others into their special spots, but it's the best kind of walking there is.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Unfinished Business

Today I teach my little chefs what it means to "parbake" something. It means to partially bake the pizza dough or pie crust before you add all your toppings or fillings.

But why? It's all about timing; the toppings will cook much faster than the crust, and you'll often have a charred top with a sopping, uncooked crust underneath. But if you parbake your pizza dough for 8 minutes and then cook the assembled pizza for 8 more, for example, you'll have a lovely pizza.

The slow parts catch up.

But it seems wrong and so unfinished to pull that partially baked creation out of the oven. One expects the golden crust, not the imperfect, incomplete thing in your hands. But just wait! It's all part of a different kind of process that lets some parts catch up while slowing other things down.

I remember parbaking when I think about things in my life that seem to go at the wrong pace or don't match up to my own timelines or expectations. So much of life is a slowing down or a catching up. As we slice into our perfect pizza, we realize that maybe it's true: everything turns out in the end in perfect timing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

His Consolation

Today I read Psalm 94:19: "When anxiety was great within me, your love was consolation to my soul."

I look for the consolations of the Lord's great love today, in all forms! 

I teach my children to cover themselves in the consoling love of God. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

So Quickly!

So many things happen so quickly around here: one daughter's baptism; another's beginning her Red Cross Babysitting Course. Orthodontist appointments come and go; more cookies are made in this kitchen; more music rises up from various rooms of the house. We have summer sleepovers. One goes off on a bike ride; older neighborhood boys stop in to chat or practice piano in my living room.

We meet new neighbors on both sides and bring treats and promises of dinner and playdates. Their children seem so very young to me.

We begin organizing the Walk-to-School Campaign, year eight. I even invite neighbors who homeschool or have preschoolers. Just come walk with us. Bring your coffee. Bring your husbands. Just come walk the mile. September 1st, we'll see you. 

Just come walk the mile. It will slow down these days that pass so quickly.

I tell the new neighbors that once, long ago, we all met in the parking lot for Neighborhood Fitness that became Monday Night Basement Fitness, but alas, we've all grown up.

But this new group of neighbors with babies and toddlers? They should come walk with us and learn how it's done.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Much Clinging

I'm reading just how often Joshua tells the Israelites to "hold fast" to God. Normally, we hear the admonition to love God with all your heart and soul, but what's stated before this command in Joshua 22:5 and 23:8 is "hold fast" to Him.

The Hebrew words mean "to cling to" and "pursue closely." 

I think of the toddler who clings to the parent's leg. I think of a desperate clutching. I think of holding on to rescuing hands as if I'm dangling over the edge of a great abyss--as if my life depends on this clinging.

Because it does. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Letting Others Tell It Like They Want To

Lately I've been thinking about ways to encourage others to talk about themselves and tell their stories without providing them any kind of apparatus or guiding question

People don't experience life the same way as I do. They don't always want to talk about the things I might think matter. They come from different cultures, different backgrounds, different communities, different capacities, and radically different mindsets based on a wide variety of factors. 

How can you really get to know someone if you're shaping the information before they even begin? 

Sometimes we're tempted to learn about others in ways that are meaningful to us and not them. I like to ask people where they're from, what their family is like, what they do for a living, or what books they are reading. But what if, instead, I asked a new friend this:

 "I would love to get to know you better, so what would you like to share about yourself that's important to you?"

Or maybe:

"What do you like others to know about you as they get to know you?" 

You get the point. Even the way I ask questions is centered on my point of view, my culture, and my experience with meaning. 

I am learning how to inhabit new perspectives even in how I ask questions. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

All Leaves and No Fruit

Today I realize my garden has become a jungle of lush green leaves. The blackberry stalks present the healthiest looking leaves you've ever seen.

One would think this was beautiful, productive, and right.

But look closely: no fruit.

I learn that perhaps the nitrogen levels in my soil are too high. Too much nitrogen creates this curious and astounding reality: all leaf and no fruit. What looks like health isn't health at all. 

It's all a show. Big hat, no cattle. All tracks, no train. All leaves, no fruit. 

Some gardeners and farmers deliberately plant nitrogen absorbing plants (like broccoli or squash) right next to their fruit plants. Something must sit there and redirect the excess. Something must come alongside and rebalance what there's just too much of.

I think of my broccoli and squash kinds of friends who sit beside me and rebalance, redirect, and reorient. They point out excesses of pride, self-importance, false humility, or overconsumption.

I'm acutely away of areas of our lives that seem like health--performance, outward display, productivity, or effectiveness--but really, it's not always been real fruit. It's an unbalanced look of well-being that fools you with its lush, showy exterior.

Take caution: Every lush, rich thing that looks like health often isn't at all. The real test is the fruit of good character, worship, helping others grow, and service that's often as hidden as the berries that grow deep within a balanced, carefully tended vine.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How My Publishing Dream Came True

As you can tell from the title, my publishing dream came true! My new book, Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison, will hit the shelves this October. How did this happen? How did this dream finally come true? I will tell you. I hope that those of you writing your own books will be greatly encouraged and full of hope after reading this post.

First of all, let me tell you about this dream that began when I was a little girl writing. A little girl writing sits in her bedroom and dreams about the books she will write one day. She throws pennies into wishing wells; she blows out birthday candles; she prays and hopes and bargains about this one dream: to publish books. Perhaps other children dream of riding horses or singing or becoming a doctor. I dreamed of books. Always books. Maybe you are a little girl writing like me.

But the dream wasn't coming true. For 15 years, manuscripts in hand, I read rejection letter after rejection letter. So, as you know, I self-published. I listened to the main point of the rejections: I wasn't famous enough and nobody wanted to take a chance on an unknown author.

Then, this past October (the significance of this month isn't lost on me; my book releases this October), I wrote a surrender letter to God. In this letter, I let the dream die completely. I gave my little girl writing heart to God and agreed to write in all those small ways--blogging, lessons plans, letters--and I settled the issue in my heart that the book writing dream was over. I was at peace, seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and ready for the other good works He had prepared for me that didn't include writing. It was a wonderful moment of knowing that I didn't need writing to prove myself, to feel important, to be somebody, or to be accepted. I could enjoy Jesus and the life He ordained for me, even if it didn't include my dream coming true.

What I didn't know is that my agent never gave up on my dream. I didn't know that he was still working, still submitting my manuscript, and still hoping for the perfect publisher for my book on being seated with Christ.

And God still held my dream safely in His hands.

One cold winter night, I received a message that Moody Publishers in Chicago was very interested in my book. Very interested.

"What book? What are you talking about?" This was how dead the dream was. This was how long forgotten it was. I had to remind myself that there was this book on being seated with Christ that I had tried to publish but was never famous enough. . .

An acquisitions editor would call me the next Tuesday. Moody Publishers would offer to buy my manuscript. They didn't care about fame. They cared that I had written an honest and biblical book. And because everyone loved it so much and thought it was so powerful, they wanted to accelerate the process, secure the manuscript by April 15, and aim for an October release. God is funny. God's timing is perfect. God guards our dreams. He's not a trickster, a cruel God, or a distant one. He listens and knows.

I learned a whole new vocabulary of contracts, editors, design teams, publicity teams, fonts, callouts, first pages, final pages. Suddenly--and I mean suddenly--I found myself sitting in fancy Chicago restaurants and seeing my dream unfold in ways that were "immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine." I've been having more fun than you can realize. It's been the life I've always wanted but didn't know. It's like something stuck in me became unstuck.

And I was myself--the real me--living in the reality of being seated in Christ and not needing the book contract to make me somebody special. Oh, the irony!

Along the way, some incredible things have happened. One is that I never forgot the words from Joni Eareckson Tada that she'd rather be seated in her wheelchair knowing Jesus than be given the chance to walk without Him. When my amazing editor--who is now one of my dear friends--asked if there was one person in the world I might ask to write the foreword to my book, I said, "Joni Eareckson Tada." And guess what? She did. She wrote the most beautiful foreword for me. God can do anything.

I hope this book blesses you beyond measure.

So that is the story of how it all happened. Thank you for reading! I will update you more with exciting book news in blogs to come. Thank you for supporting my writing on this blog these past years. I love you all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Maybe It's Like Rahab

I'm reading in Joshua chapter 2 about the prostitute named Rahab who hides the Israelite spies from the king of Jericho. Her words to the spies about how her people fear the Israelites and know the Lord has given them this land empowers and encourages the Israelites. Her report, her actions, and her boldness in requesting deliverance for her whole family inspire me all morning.

But what I can't stop thinking about is her home.

Rehab lived in the city wall. Her home was in the most dangerous, isolated location reserved for the poor and the outcasts in Jericho. What did it feel like to Rahab to have a home in the city wall, away from everyone like that? What did she think about her life? What did she think about God? Did she consider that God loved her even though she was in this desolate and dangerous place?

I wonder. I really wonder.

I realize that the deliverance of a nation seemed to hinge upon this woman. The deliverance of her family and the hope of her life came about because of this dangerous and isolated location in the city wall. She just happened to live in precisely the right place to hide the spies and secure her family's future.

And one strange day, as the walls of Jericho fell around her, except her own little home, I wonder what that felt like.

I do not doubt our most desolate, excluded places might just be the very location of our deepest deliverance. Maybe it's just like Rahab.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Before the Mixer

As you know, we love making unusual treats in the kitchen. Today's challenge for children is to create without electric mixers or heat. It's a no-bake freezer challenge that I'll judge this afternoon. 

We talk a moment about life before KitchenAid, microwaves, and gas stoves. I like to remember a different, slower time.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Absorb It Then Change It

Our mildew problem has taught me many things this week. I'm amazed at what sunlight can do, for example. Mildew has no chance to survive against the power of direct sunlight, so I have a back porch covered with all the dress up clothes and stuffed animals I've cleaned. They dry in the sun, and they smell fresh and clean.

(I think of staying in the light to purify my own fungal heart.)

But what amazes me the most is my new dehumidifier. We're dumping bucket after bucket of water that it captures from the air. It pulls in the humid air, cools it down, and gathers up all the moisture in its reservoir. There's just so much of it that I can hardly believe how damp my environment actually is.

All that moisture that I cannot see is there but unrealized. I see it only when absorbed and transformed by this little machine in my basement. All this water! I could water my plants for months with this flow.

(I think of what I must pull in from my circumstances to transform and finally realize. I think of pouring it all back out to feed those around me with hope and joy and peace that's right here but not yet discerned.)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Just Play It

The amazing Baker family arrives for their annual visit to our home for this one August weekend, and it's particularly wonderful to note how we've all grown and changed within the year. We talk about prayer requests, challenges, books, and neighborhood living, as always.

We also, as always, talk about music. Or rather, we experience music along with the Bakers.

Mr. Baker takes a seat on the piano bench and plays a melody on the piano, and each child takes a turn accompanying him as if they've practiced this routine for years.

But then I notice my own children joining in to make beautiful music. How is this happening? They've never practiced this song in their lives! They've never even heard this music, and nobody has provided any sheet music.

He explains that he's playing the pentatonic scale in the key of F sharp. (As if this means anything to me. It does not. It's a foreign language.) He further explains that because of this particular arrangement, anything--literally anything--the children play on the black keys of the piano will sound beautiful. It will harmonize. It will resonate. It will make something wonderful happen.

I can prove it:

The One Playing the Music has orchestrated the song so that you simply have the freedom to play your heart's desire right there beside Him. It will bless the world with beauty and wonder as you harmonize your will to His. He's made it easy for you. He's done the work. You just play on, child.

Later, one daughter leans in and says to me, "Did you notice how each child sounded so unique and had their very own style?"

Yes. I noticed indeed.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I find a quote from Christine Caine:

"Sometimes when you're in a dark place you think you've been buried when you've actually been planted."

So true. 

You're planted, and in time, you'll grow and bloom.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Keep Starting Fresh

These last days of summer, we all have shorter tempers. We find ourselves saying, "Let's start fresh." 

Let's start fresh every moment if we have to. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pain and Provision

Today my dear friend (who knows I just love wonderful truths showcased in nature and natural processes) tells me about how jewelweed only grows alongside poison ivy and stinging nettle.

Whenever you see the poison ivy or stinging nettle, look for the jewelweed. You'll find it. It's there.

I've never heard of jewelweed in my life, and I'm not sure I should care.

But she tells me how the jewelweed juice provides the immediate remedy to the itching and irritation of poison ivy and stinging nettle. The solution to the pain exists alongside of it. The remedy is available right there as if God just knew--He just knew and planned.

The poison ivy will grow, but God provides something right alongside it to heal and remedy if we apply what's been provided right there.

There's pain and provision. With every pain, a promise. With every sting, a salve.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The One You Seek Is In Your Midst

For seven hours we searched and called. Neighbors helped us scour the house in case our missing cat was hiding somewhere. We put out food to bring Merlin back. 

Then, as if nothing were ever wrong, Merlin appears in the house. He never left. He was always there. 

(A cat that doesn't want to be found won't be found.)

We learn that cats often punish their owners for leaving on long trips by ignoring and hiding from the family. Oh, Merlin! 

I wake up remembering how desperately I searched. I find myself recalling the statement, "that which you seek is in your midst." 

I think of God and Jacob in Genesis when he cries, "Surely The Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it!"

I think of how he was there all along. 

I think of Jeremiah 29:13: "If you seek him, he will be found by you." 

He was here all along! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Very Bad Day!

Let me just say it: 

Our cat, Merlin, escaped into the wild today and has not returned. Many tears from the girls. 

Our daughter has an excruciating ear infection that is slow to heal. Many tears of pain. 

We just discovered mold and mildew covering most of our basement and sentimental items. Tears coming as I think about the work ahead. 

But--and of course there's a but!
Yet--and of course there's a yet!

Dear neighbors invited us to dinner and both girls have the immediate love and distraction of friends. 

The boys down the street have offered to search for Merlin. 

The ear will heal. 

The basement will recover with perhaps a forced renovation. 

We have food waiting on the porch, and we hope for Merlin's return. 

We will remember this day for friends and hope and hard work. 

Grace abounds on this weary day. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Calling Forth Beauty

I hear how a woman began to believe that God could call forth or create beauty from anyone, anything, anywhere, at any time. 

It changed her life to trust that God, at the perfect time, makes beauty if she allowed it. 

To live in such a way that we reflect God's character as One Who Calls Forth Beauty changes how I approach everything and everyone. Lord, help me call forth beauty today from anyone, anywhere, at any time. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Another Great Conversation Question

Today I read Robin Dreeke's (the former director of the FBI's Behavior Analysis Program and expert in interpersonal relations) advice on engaging others in conversation. 

She recommends asking people about challenges. The best question to ask, according to TIME's article, will encourage people to process challenges.  What challenges you at work? What challenges did you face this summer? What are your current parenting challenges? What challenges you in your neighborhood? 

I like this question, and I've been trying it out on family members. Everyone has challenges, and allowing them to talk about these challenges creates meaningful conversation.

You can read the TIME article here: 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Finally Seeing

I search for the turtles like a child. I bring the children with me. Up and down the pier, we peer upon the water for their little heads or glistening backs. We then adjust our vision to see into the water. We gaze into the mossy depths of summer lake mysteries. Camouflaged by algae and leaves and sticks, the turtles sit. When we finally discern their presence, it's a whisper and a pointing, a kneeling closer and a gasp. We net the smallest one for quick observation and release. 

All day long, they are here but rarely seen. I love those things always about us that we see only when adjusting our vision, probing the murky depths, and waiting to see.