Posts

Walk Your Grief!

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During a recent sermon on grief, our pastor mentioned something that I have been thinking about lately. He said, "Many of us grieve over an accumulation of losses in our lives." This past year, Monique and I have lost several of our Texas friends. Another precious one passed a couple of weeks ago. This is number four by my count. Each of these friends has left an indelible influence on our lives. As the pastor observed, I feel like there has been a heavy accumulation of grief and loss in the last couple of years. We knew this was bound to occur. After all, we are getting older, too! But, the frequency of loss over a relatively short duration of time has been surprising.  In my personal reflections, I took to the computer keyboard to make a list of some of the specific losses. At the top, I thought of the loss of my mother who passed two years ago on July 17th. Then, there was the grief over a church conflict in March 2019. Added to this was the diagnosis of prostate cancer in…

"We're in a Pickle!"

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Monique is tutoring a couple of our grandsons these days who are staying home for instruction during this season of Covid-19. She is trying to partner with our local family of mom and dad educators who are spending their days not only teaching their classes by remote, but also in giving supervision and support to their home bound children schooling by the same technology. It is a trying time managing all of this! There are a couple of familiar expressions we use when facing tough circumstances. One says, "We're between a rock and a hard place," and the other one that is a personal favorite says, "We're in a pickle!" I prefer the latter expression because it has a tragically humorous element to it. The Dutch phrase takes this dilemma literally as "sitting in the pickle!" So, like being in a jar full of pickles, it pictures how easily and seriously we can be swamped by the difficult situations or quandaries that we face in our daily lives. Our presc…

Amen's and Sneezing!

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"An Amen Is Nothing to Sneeze At!" This will require some explanation, but hold on for that! When I was a teenager, I would get into trouble at church. Nothing major, but just the kind of antics that had me laughing at inappropriate times. Like when we were standing at the end of a worship service and listening to the choir as they concluded with a beautiful choral Amen. The choir members were all in harmony until the final Amen's. This is the time when the sopranos and altos with great enthusiasm and increased volume would hit the high notes in affirming, "Amen" and drawing out each syllable.Then antiphonally, the tenors and bases would chime in with their corresponding Amen's. It was both melodic and confusing. About the time I would try to step out into the aisle and head for the door, the choir would add another Amen. It seemed to be an endless exercise for an anxious teenager! At last and almost with a whisper, they would conclude, "Amen!" I…

"Welcome to My World!"

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After years of ongoing substituting at her favorite neighborhood school, Mimi will be sitting out this school year awaiting a much needed vaccine. The "Number One Substitute Teacher" of our family has been sidelined due to precautions over pre-existing conditions and being in a higher risk age-group. Yet, we still have three active teachers in our family fully engaged in their academic trenches. These educators are leading their classes by remote.School definitely has a different look during this Covid-19 Pandemic! It has a different language describing it, too! The other evening, I opened up the note's application on my phone in order to record some of the words our teacher daughter was using as she shared about her day with her mother. I couldn't believe how strange it sounded to hear her speaking the "language of Covid." Within a couple of minutes of conversation, these tech-specific words and phrases swiftly rolled off her tongue with amazing ease: devi…

"Pray and Move Your Feet!"

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There is an old West African proverb: “When you pray, move your feet.” I have said something similar in a little different way: “Be careful in your praying. You may be (and often are!) the answer to your own prayer.” Others see this almost as a command to “Put feet to your prayers!” What do we mean by these various sayings? Prayer is not just an important spiritual discipline for the Christian, it often leads to an “in the flesh” response and connection between the pray-er and the prayer request.While prayer is one of the spiritual disciplines, this doesn't mean it is just an academic, theoretical or forensic exercise! I have heard it said, "God inhabits the praises of His people." This suggests that it blesses God to hear the praise of His people in prayer. I believe that the Lord gets an even greater blessing when our praying is “incarnated” in devotion, commitment and service for Him. Our best efforts at praying involve action plans to follow through with deeds that d…

"It's Tough! But, We Can Do It!"

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There have been a couple of seniors who have gained recent notoriety for their efforts during this season surrounding Covid-19. Captain Tom (now Honorary Colonel) Moore, former British Army Officer during WWII, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. At 100 years of age, he has raised over 40 million dollars for his country's national health system by walking laps in the backyard of his home. The other inspiring story has come from 94-year-old Maye Krier, who as a teenager, worked at a Boeing factory making war planes during the same global conflict in which Captain Tom served. Maye and other young women who worked alongside her received the nickname, "Rosie the Riveter!" Krier would be in the news again 75 years later for her mask-making efforts during the Pandemic. She had already made over 300 protective masks for family and friends when she received an order for 1000 more and had to request help from others. When she posted her need for cloth and elastic on social media, th…

"Things Are Not Peachy!"

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I love this time of the year! It is "peach season" in Illinois! I grew up with peaches from Centralia and Kell. Each August, Mom would turn these into cobblers, jars of freezer jam, and then would save back sliced peaches for the morning cereal, afternoon snacks and to accent bowls of homemade ice-cream while we listened to baseball games on the radio! I am in "peach heaven" this time of year! I'm thinking and dreaming peaches! Why, I'm even punctuating the comments of family and friends with sayings like, "That's peachy!" and even throwing in the superlative for emphasis on occasions, "That's peachy keen!" Yes, it's true, I'm crazy about the peach whatever the variety: yellow, white, freestone or cling! It is one of my favorite fruit!
The family "love affair" with peaches continued during our fifteen-year sojourn in Texas. Our middle son was born in the "Peach Capital of Texas" - Weatherford! Each year…