Gather Your Team and Make a ‘Family’

“Thank you for being on my team.” Words from my friend bear witness to this friendship we’re nurturing, to the time we’ve spent catching up over tea, in prayer, studying God’s word. The times we’ve carried one another’s burdens, rejoiced over each other’s victories. “Gather your team” we’d heard the speaker say. This wise woman at the podium, in the evening of her life, had given a diverse group of women …

Pray A to Z: Purposeful Prayer in the New Year and a Book Give-Away

It’s a new year and because I love fresh starts, I’ve been known to make a resolution or two. (I won’t share the statistics on my success at keeping them.) Recently, our pastor challenged us to make commitments instead of resolutions — more importantly, to commit to God an action, attitude, habit or sacrifice that …

What Epiphany Looks Like in the Hard-Scrabble Brokenness of Our Everyday

This Christmas season was going to be different. I entered Advent with a spirit of hope and good intentions, expecting it to carry me to January 6, to Epiphany. Candles would remain lit, trees with twinkling lights would hold their places in our home, and the beautiful Advent readings would keep us focused on the celebration of the …

Winter Means Counting Down the Blessings

“I look like a little boy,” Dad grumbles. He pulls the stocking cap down over his ears and eyebrows. “I never wear hats like this. Maybe you do, but I don’t.” Dad gives me an accusing look. “Where’s your hat.” It’s blustery outside, it’s his birthday and he has an appointment with the dentist. I’ve brought the …

How To Cure An Itchy Trigger Finger

Just 140 characters and two minutes. That’s all it takes to spout an opinion or start a movement. In a flurry of emotional rhetoric, we have the freedom to proclaim to the world (or whoever’s watching) a point of view we may later realize was uninformed, or just plain over the top. But we do it anyway. In my …

Sexual Misconduct Isn’t Just for Politicians

It’s always an awkward conversation. After we’ve played some games, talked about what they want in a dating relationship, done a bit of role-playing, we get down to the nitty gritty. Sexual assault. Violence. Rape. Some of the students avert their eyes. Others giggle nervously. A few show concern, even ask questions. I talk to high …

“Discovering Hope” Turns Chronic Illness Into Chronic Joy

Cindee Snider Re embodies these words from the author J.R.R. Tolkein: Courage is found in unlikely places I met Cindee in an unlikely place — at a writers’ workshop on the western coast of Lake Michigan. We were among a dozen writers, many of whom were still waiting on the Lord to show them how …