Holy Land Debrief

So, did I return from Israel a changed woman? Other than an extra five pounds, a better understanding of biblical culture and a deeper appreciation for scripture, the answer is no. I have to admit I’m disappointed I didn’t experience the spiritual transformation so many pilgrims told me to expect and wondered if there was something wrong with me. It’s not that there weren’t moving moments, but they…..

Oy Vey!

Considering I only know two Hebrew words, it’s ironic I would employ one before leaving Newark airport. While purchasing food, I realized with dread my credit and ATM cards were still on the photocopier at home. I thought I was so organized copying them in case of a lost or stolen wallet. Stupidly, I took the photocopy just not the cards. Without them, I didn’t exist as far as the hotel in Tel Aviv was concerned. “But I am a child of God” did not fly when trying to check in. What the heck? This is the Holy Land isn’t it? I could’ve…..

The Great Adventure

The Great Adventure

As some of you may know, today is the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the Wise Men finding Jesus after following a star through the desert. It seems only fitting to choose this time to embark on my own pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It’s certainly an appropriate manner in which to combat the holiday hangover January ushers in – the aftermath of too much food, too many festivities, too many distractions. Now as the din of December fades…..

Christmas Begins...

While you are boxing up Christmas this week, I wanted to send you something to think about in the process because Christmas isn't over. It's just beginning. You can pack away the ornaments and discard the greens, but the present/presence God sent on Christmas is meant to be re-gifted all year long. There isn't a box big enough to contain the Spirit of God though many people are tempted to confine Him to parameters our limited minds can understand. If there's anything I've learned about God, it's that He is meant to be …..

One Solitary Life

One Solitary Life

My daughter and I went to see The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in New York City last week. If you’re ever having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, this show will penetrate the heart of even the most adamant Scrooge. It is quintessential Christmas. The best part is that the producers have kept Christ as the heart of the show. In the current climate of political correctness…..

Advent Waiting

Today is the last Sunday of Advent, but is Advent ever really over? If it’s a time of waiting and preparation, doesn’t that describe our entire life? We live in the in-between – a time between the birth of Christ and when He comes again. The challenge is to live by faith not by sight, trusting Him in the in-between while looking forward with hope to the fulfillment of His ultimate promise when he will…..

RECOMBOBULATION AREA

RECOMBOBULATION AREA

Returning from Milwaukee this week, I went through security and saw a sign indicating “RECOMBOBULATION AREA.” I laughed out loud. Is that even a word? As my flight was delayed a couple of hours, I had plenty of time to investigate. Unique to General Mitchell Airport, the term recombobulation was created by “Barry Bateman, a former airport director. Bateman made up the word and suggested the signage in order to add some comic relief to what can be a tense aspect of air travel.” Apparently, it’s working. I’m not the only traveler who has stopped to snap a photo. Comic relief….

Christmas Crisis

My sister, Mary Frances, received an alarming health diagnosis recently. When my mother learned of it, her first response was to suggest cancelling our annual Christmas gathering. I understand her gut reaction as I have often been tempted to do the same, feeling guilty celebrating Christmas while those I love are in pain. However, I’ve learned from experience that there is no better time to celebrate the hope of Christmas than in the midst of suffering. As I mentioned last week…..

OOPS!

Experienced another Lucille Ball moment this week. I was in the middle of a do-it-yourself project that required black spray paint. I purchased a can along with some other items and unpacked the bag on the kitchen counter. When I went to move the paint into the garage, I dropped it and chaos ensued. The cap cracked off and the nozzle hit the floor releasing a torrent of black spray. Stunned, I watched…..

Stuff It!

This week I’ve been composing a list of “do not mention” topics for my husband as prep for the Thanksgiving dinner. The list grows longer each year and is now lengthier than Santa’s naughty and nice list. It’s amazing that despite my censorship, he still finds plenty to talk about. In regards to the Thanksgiving dinner conversation, neutrality is always the….

Stuck in the Middle With You

At this point in life, I find myself sandwiched between budding adult children beginning their life’s journey and aging parents finishing theirs – both standing on the abyss of the unknown. Don’t you wish life came with a version of What to Expect When Your Expectingfor every phase of life? As a young mom, I relied on child gurus, Louise Bates Ames and Francis Ilg, who authored a series of books addressing each of the “age” stages in childhood from one through fourteen. As a rookie, I found them extremely helpful. Now, I’m waiting for someone…..

Love is a Weapon

The alarming thing about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting is the fact that the shock value no longer exists. No one can deny the horror of last weekend’s events. However, the frequency of these types of violent acts has led us to expect them. It’s no longer a question of if it will happen again but where and to whom. Therein lies the true terror…..

We Will Go

We Will Go

While listening to a children’s choir from Uganda this week, the term “out of the mouths of babes” sprang to mind. We can learn so much from children, which is precisely why Jesus commanded in the gospel of Matthew, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Who knew that the idiom, out of the mouths of babes, is derived…..

Shaking It Up

Shaking It Up

My Pilates instructor decided to ‘shake things up’ this week by introducing a new routine that involved jumping on a reformer. Not known for my coordination, it was challenging. My aging body is still screaming in rebellion. One of the moves involved jumping in reverse, which was particularly tricky as you couldn’t see…..

Call of Duty

Call of Duty

Last Sunday our church had a commissioning ceremony for one of our pastors (David) who is in the National Guard. He’s been called up to serve in the Middle East for the next ten months. As he stood at the front of the church in his army fatigues, I thought his uniform more appropriate than the …..

Victor or Victim?

Everyone struggles with something. It’s a sad fact of life. Some of our challenges are self-induced. Others are simply the product of living in a broken world where all kinds of trials await us. That’s not to say the popular mantra Life is Good is a fallacy. Paradoxically, joy and suffering are the parallel paths of life. Rarely is life all of one or the other. They coexist in every moment, which brings to mind…..

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden

How does one go from mechanical bull riding in Nashville to a silent retreat the following weekend? “By accident.” Though quiet was a welcome respite from the rowdiness of Nashville, I had no idea I’d signed up for a ‘silent’ retreat. My previous women’s retreats involved their own sort of raucousness, as we frequently stayed up late into the night sharing experiences, laughter and suffering of all sorts. I remember one retreat where late-night Karaoke helped lighten the atmosphere. Assuming this retreat would be similar…..

Who's on the Throne?

Who's on the Throne?

Before I left for the summer, I went out for ice cream with some friends - including my little buddies, Grace and Sam. We discussed our goals for the summer. Grace was determined to learn to swim. Sam’s was to organize the Lego table. His grandfather set his sights on getting a particular person to church. Others had dietary goals. Thinking I should choose something meaningful, I decided on….

Brows Redux

In response to the numerous horrified emails expressing sympathy and legal advice after last week’s post, “Those were not my real brows in the photo!”While the first couple of weeks did loosely resemble that picture, I’m happy to report that the final result was all I hoped it would be. Not that anyone else would notice, but it’s still a shock when I look in the mirror because I haven’t quite adjusted to my brow-enhanced reflection. Whatever personal changes we choose to make, regardless of how small…..