Showing posts from May, 2023

A Summer Slower Pace

Many regard the Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of summer. Sunday was exceptionally beautiful for our road trip to Vandalia for worship, dinner, and family time with my sister and dad. However, during the trip we ran into another frustrating detour that wasn’t clearly marked out. This has been ongoing for a few years now due to a critical mine subsidence issue necessitating numerous repairs on a two-mile stretch of Route 185 between Hillsboro and Coffeen. We were closing in on our destination and I thought, “Here we go again! I wonder how long this is going to take!” Another reminder... "Be Calm!" At this point, Monique, my “counselor of calmness,” offered some much-needed advice, “Let’s pretend we are on vacation and just take our time!” Immediately, this thought slowed me down, literally, and figuratively! This is what I needed to hear to relax as I steered the Buick over hill and dale not knowing exactly where we were going to come out of this. The detour was only a

Springtime Birdwatching

There are many things that I love about our yard at this time of the year. Our mature trees – the stately oak, silver maple and tulip have “leafed out” providing their beautiful shade to the property in bold greens. The rhododendron has “bloomed out” its purple gem flowers delivering a natural photo-op background for special occasions like Mother’s Day and May graduations. The Call of the Wild!😉 The Cardinal birds can be seen perched upon the fence. They are in the season of mating, building nests to secure their eggs, and then introducing their newly hatched young ones to a whole new habitat! We have recently seen their prodigy and eagerly welcomed the three fledgling Cardinals – two brothers and one little sister - into the backyard! It’s the rhythm of springtime in all its newness! That brings me to "The Call of the Wild!” During this season, we have a zealous woodpecker who pays us an annual visit (or at least I think it is the same one year after year!). At mid-morning, no

Use Your Voice!

It was twenty years ago, May 19, 2003, that I was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. This degree was seven years in the making! The first four years went by at a very satisfying pace. I worked through seven seminars that covered a range of topics in theology and practical ministry. I loved every minute of those weeklong campus experiences in January and May each year! Draft, Dissertation, Diploma! The collegiality of a D.Min. cohort puts you in close contact with ministers from various denominational backgrounds. I found the camaraderie both academically challenging and spiritually stimulating. Many of us ate our evening meals together in local restaurants. We stayed up late in the dorm rooms we shared discussing matters of ministry. We also partnered with each other in various presentations during class time. I grew professionally and spiritually during those years with new study friends. After seminars, the program shifted

Coffee and Conversation at Table!

The kitchen table was the center of conversation for our family during my growing up years. I have fond memories of my mother leading share times around that table at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This was also the setting where mom would engage neighbor friends with a good cup of coffee just before school each day. My after-school reporting came at the same place as mom wanted to know everything about my day. Customers, while waiting on their cars to be serviced at my dad's nearby shop, would also sit, sip their coffee, and visit around that same table. It became the center of our family’s “conversational universe!” Coffee and Conversation at Matt's! I know that many busy families have a hard time these days getting all their loved ones to sit down and eat a meal together. The pace of life and individual commitments seem to have encroached on these daily opportunities to be and do life together at a common table. It’s hard if not impossible to get everyone to take a few minute

Truth: Under Lock & Key?

According to the National Retail Federation, retail theft has grown to a staggering 100-billion-dollar annual problem! I know that my printer cartridges have been under lock and key for some time now. And that’s not the only store item being secured. Facial wipes, shampoo, baby formula, and razors are locked up too. Our oldest grandsons work in retail stores, and they can tell stories about how brazen thieves have become! Items behind locked display cases are certainly an inconvenience for shoppers who must wait for a sales associate to come and give anxious customers access to their shopping items! Image credit: All of this has me thinking that with the rising prices of beef, butter, and eggs, I’m afraid that soon we may also see these basic food items secured from thieves the next time we round the aisles to the refrigerated dairy and meat cases! Can you believe that some brands of butter sell for five dollars per pound or that a 16-ounce prime strip steak is going for