My work in children’s ministry has taught me so much about the kingdom of God, worship and simple faith. It’s also shown me that kids’ brains are sponges, capable of learning so quickly. I love listening to their little voices work on memory verses as they string together sentences from Scripture with relative ease. Even better are the moments when the proverbial lightbulb turns on and they “get” it, connecting the words on the page to God’s love and care for them.
It’s time to wrap up 2017 and make New Year’s resolutions. While I want to make continual progress in the stereotypical categories of food, fitness and finances, a different area of health is on my mind for 2018. I’m seeking wisdom from Scripture and accountability from a close friend to help me in this endeavor, because I want to get it right.
This year I resolve to use my words well.
Careless communication doesn’t seem too bad in the typical laundry list of sins and shortcomings.
Last Christmas, I attended a live music viewing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The 25-minute film played on a screen at our local indie theater downtown while a jazz band performed Vince Guaraldi’s music in sync. It was spectacular!
As the movie begins, Charlie Brown feels ho-hum and is in search of Christmas cheer. Nothing is quite right. He didn’t receive a Christmas card from his friend Violet, he is frustrated by his sister Sally’s self-centered wish list for Santa, his dog Snoopy is caught up in a decorating contest, and to top it off, Charlie’s friends laugh at the small and bare tree he picks out for the Christmas play.
The holidays can produce mixed feelings among single Christians. We want to fully embrace the festivities with joy — and sometimes we do — but arriving at parties and family gatherings without a “plus one” yet again can be discouraging. We get lonely. Nostalgia settles in strong at this time of year as we recall fond Christmas memories from childhood, and wonder when — or harder yet, if — we’ll ever have a family of our own with whom to build traditions and celebrate.
The first time I remember being phubbed was at Olive Garden. I had met a friend for dinner to catch up on each other’s lives. Every time a notification dinged and lit up her phone, she checked it and engaged in some back-and-forth texting, saying at one point, “Sorry, it’s my husband.” Although she didn’t mean to be disrespectful, that’s how it felt. I didn’t want a half-hearted apology. I wanted her attention.
Can’t she get away for two hours?
Today is an important day in Christian church history – the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
What is the Reformation?
On October 31, 1517, a German named Martin Luther, a 33-year-old professor and Catholic monk, nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church and mailed a copy to his church superior. His initial intent was not to start a revolutionary split from the Roman Catholic Church. Luther’s aim was to encourage his fellow scholars to debate church practices he found to be problematic, gain the attention of church authorities and ultimately promote a return to historic Christianity.
Last weekend, I shared a portion of my testimony at my church’s worship night. When asked if I’d be willing to participate, I felt some initial hesitation. Surely there were more intriguing life stories to tell — you know, testimonies that would keep the audience’s attention! My conversion story, on the other hand, isn’t all that exciting.
My day-to-day life is also rather commonplace. I work, pay my bills, clean my house, do errands and laundry, and check in on my friends and family…and social media, of course.
From the day he was born and I first glimpsed my nephew’s face, I was smitten. My heart’s capacity to love stretched and deepened instantly, and I knew that I would do anything for my little guy. “Auntie Lala” became the role I treasure most in life.
He’s almost three years old now – sleeping in a “big boy bed,” excited to don an elephant costume for Halloween, and recently announced his desire to author a book titled “The Wonderful World of Concrete.” Toddlers and their developing personalities, interests, ideas and antics, are hilarious.
Last week, I left my office flicking away a few tears after a particularly long, exhausting day. I wasn’t upset about anything that happened at work or elsewhere. The tears weren’t about tasks.
No, after several weeks of burying myself in work and way too many evening and weekend commitments, I was feeling overwhelmed. I wanted the comfort of physical touch. I wanted to be held.
My response wasn’t unusual. Physical touch is important and among our most basic of human needs.
Last week I donated ten bags of clothes and a bunch of miscellaneous household items to a local thrift store.
I’ve been trying to pare down my belongings for multiple reasons. First, I have unused items taking up space in my home that someone else could potentially use and enjoy. Second, I’ve noticed that it’s difficult for me to focus at home. I’ve found myself writing, paying bills, doing my Bible study and other tasks in coffee shops simply to escape the clutter.