In the Valley

I took this picture of a Grand Canyon valley because it gives me hope. It is a steep and far descent to the lowest place. But there, at the very bottom, is a bit of green. Looking from the top, you can’t see the stream that runs there, but it does. When you feel like…

A Model Substitute

I sometimes substitute teach at the elementary level. I showed up to a classroom one day, adorned with my official substitute badge on a lanyard around my neck, to find an observer standing outside, waiting for me to arrive. Well, she was waiting for the actual, real, certified teacher to arrive, but she got me…

A Celebratory Dinner

We had been sitting at the table waiting on our food for over an hour. “We” included me, my husband, all four of our children, and all of their grandparents. We had called ahead to make sure a table would be available for us when we arrived. We were coming to celebrate. A few hours…

Fixing the House

I’m listening to my husband and my son walk around the house fixing things. They declared to me, “We are fixing the house!” There’s talk of plungers, squeaky hinges, baking soda and vinegar in the sinks, screwdrivers, and safety rules about the garbage disposal. It makes my heart happy. My husband is being intentional to…

My Notes for Talking to My Kids

Watching the Olympics with my family this past weekend, you can’t escape it. Athlete after athlete after athlete has overcome some amazing challenge or hurdle or disability or life-change to train and prepare for being an Olympian. The have a goal, they make a plan, they pursue it with diligence, and then they revel in…

Fireworks and Freedom

I watched the fireworks last night. One child likened them to fairies. A different child called them missiles. As I watched the fire fall from the sky, I realized that in some ways they were both right. For so many of us, fireworks are almost a magical spectacle of dazzling light, a symbol of freedom,…

When Something is “Mostly Dead”

My girls had their annual dance recital this month, and their sweet daddy bought them both a bouquet of tulips. The flowers were in water, but being in the hot car for hours caused them to wilt. By the end of the long day, I had no hope of their recovery. My husband, though—he had…

What I Do When I Don’t Like Change

The last week of school was a dizzying whirlwind as our family had field trips, field days, dance parties, hang out parties, water parties, teacher farewells, school farewells, band concerts, thank you gifts to give, birthday gifts to give, meals to deliver, and I’m sure I’m still forgetting something. The coming of summer is a…

Jesus and His Mama: I laugh, I melt, I kneel

I don’t think too much about what kind of a son Jesus was to Mary. We hear a lot about how Jesus is the Father’s Son, how he came to be about his Father’s business, how he was sure of his identity as God-made-flesh. But I think it’s important to also remember that he was…

Lent, Love, and Preschool

My youngest came home from preschool yesterday with a story. His class was making craft hearts with tissue paper, and he was running out of supplies. His friend across the table said, “Here’s some of my paper!” and freely gave it away. During the retelling, my son said thoughtfully, “I didn’t even ask for it,…

He is Coming!

There is so much to look forward to at Christmastime. Santa, presents, the dawn of Christmas morning, the smell of roast beast in the oven, the sound of carols in the candlelight at Christmas Eve service. So much to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. And yet there is still more. One of my goals…

Why Are You So Afraid?

I’m sitting listening to the rain, having just discovered my parents’ neighborhood is flooding and my dad can’t get home right now due to highway and road closures. All is well with their house, but oh the damage a storm can cause. It made me think of Jesus on the boat with the disciples and…