Rhythms of Work and Rest

This summer was a busy one. We had a huge international trip to two different countries with four young kids in tow. (Yeah, I know. Don’t worry–we had help.) All this travel was exciting and fulfilling in ways we never expected as God allowed us to encourage and help a number of friends serving in hard places, as well as reconnect with friends in our old neighborhood. Upon our return home, all we wanted to do was crash, but we had given ourselves exactly three days to unpack, do laundry, and repack for the long drive to a conference near my hometown. Needless to say, by the time the conference was over and we made the drive back, I was never so happy […]

The King’s Messenger

This week’s #favoritething is a delightful story written by someone who has since become a dear friend. The King’s Messenger, by Carolyn Clare Givens is a middle-grade chapter book that reads as a kind of parable. This medieval tale will captivate children and parents alike. (You know it’s a good book when a 10-year-old boy devours it in one sitting–as does his momma.) Smuggins waits daily in the presence of his beloved King. As a messenger, he stands at the ready, observing everything the King does, awaiting his turn to be called to serve. Years of waiting and watching shape him, preparing him for the day rumors of unrest reach the throne room and he is finally called upon for an important and dangerous mission. Is […]

Sonderous Thoughts

I see the world from my own personal point of view. I know my own story, and I can see the roles other people play in it. But the world doesn’t revolve around me. I play a role in other people’s stories, too. Sometimes I’m an extra–another face in the grocery aisle as a widower goes to the store alone for the first time in forty years. Sometimes I’m a villain–the one who was in such a hurry that I cut off a lady in traffic and made her sit at that long red light twice, causing her to be late for an appointment. Sometimes I get to be an angel–swooping in to someone’s rescue before flying off again. Sometimes […]

Not Yet, Spring

As I was out with my children yesterday, I noticed the trees in bud along the road beginning to blossom. Half-open pinks and whites heralded the awakening of spring and new life. Joy and beauty bloomed before my eyes. But my heart wasn’t ready to see it. With a pang I thought, “No! Not yet! It’s not time!” The reaction startled me. Every winter I long for spring and I rejoice with the green and gold and dappled things. But it’s mid-February—these things are out of season. And my heart is grieving. Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound. Proverbs 25:20, NLT The […]

The Rubik’s Cube

I am married to a man who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in just over one minute. I’m baffled each time I watch him do it. The moment he solves one part, he begins unmaking it in order to pursue the next level of completion. What I thought was accomplished now looks undone. Once that level is complete, colors get even more jumbled as he puts other pieces into their proper places. It’s a messy prospect. I get a bit squeamish watching it. But then, all it takes is the flick of a wrist… And all is made right again. Whole. Complete. I am that Rubik’s Cube. This process of unmaking and rearranging of pieces is messy. I’m holding out […]

Harsh Light

I normally love the bright glow of the late afternoon sun as it falls pleasantly over the countryside and streams through my windows, but today I noticed a harsh reality: the same golden light that brightens the goodness outside also highlights how dirty my kitchen is. I was shocked and appalled to see smudges, smears, and streaks covering the front of my oven, refrigerator, and two cabinets. So appalled, in fact, that I dropped what I was doing and immediately set to work washing off the grime. I knew if I let the moment pass, the light would fade and I’d grow complacent again with the dirt I would no longer see. I wanted to make use of that moment […]

The Kingdom Work of Restoration

I remember the first time I walked into our latest real estate project. My buddy Scott found a good deal and wanted me to see it. The enormous dead tree lying in the front yard was just a prelude to what we’d find inside.   Standing in the kitchen, we felt squeezed by the dark, dirty, depressing space. Most people would have taken one look and passed on this old house, despite the great location in a quiet neighborhood. No appeal was visible to the naked eye. Scott and I, however, saw potential. Yes, potential for profits, but also potential to use our God-given abilities to take something damaged and make it beautiful again. Scott imagined stripping the kitchen, knocking down […]

What Seeing the Total Eclipse Taught Me about Myself

We descended like a swarm of bees upon the city—hovering, crawling, buzzing. Our family had arisen before dawn to make the journey into the heart of totality, and our arrival was swift and direct. We chatted with other devotees on the same pilgrimage. We unlocked little boxes to compare astrological charts and maps to choose a suitable location. We invited others to join us. Another flock welcomed our company into their fold for the day. We waited in sweltering heat with children and ants and anticipation. We shared shade and water and moments. We knew the times and the seasons, but we all secretly longed for something more than what we knew. We wanted to feel it. The change began […]

On Our 14th Anniversary

Marriage is like turning a marathon into a 3-legged race. I’m running along at my own pace, eyes fixed on the goal, when I sense someone running beside me. I look over and see you running toward the same goal at about the same pace. We fall in step and decide that running this race is better as a team, so we stop and bind ourselves to one another hand and foot. At first we’re just happy for the companionship, and even though we’re bumbling along trying to find a new stride, the challenges are fun. But then the binds grow tight and chafe, cutting deep into the flesh. Indeed, the binds have fused our flesh together so it’s impossible […]

A Teachable Moment

I could see the worry in his eyes as he sat buckled into his car seat. I closed the door and climbed into the driver’s seat for the short commute to school. My six-year-old had just been hit with the sobering news that his older brother’s classmate lost her dad last week. “How did he die?” He asked the question in earnest, and when I was slow to respond, he quickly asked again. Behind the question, I could hear wheels turning, trying to comprehend that the death of a parent is a real possibility in the world he lives in. I could hear his unspoken questions, too. Could that happen to you? What if you or Dad died? Am I […]