One Word and God’s Word

As you read this I’m in Florida for a long weekend.  Ostensibly for a fund-raiser for World Vision, but let’s be honest, I’ll be with friends and the temperature will be above 30 degrees farenheit.  I’m not suffering for Jesus here.


“Choosing life” is easy with beauty all around you.  Vibrant color, warm pavement under bare feet, up-lifting conversations.  But this week, living in the left-hand picture hasn’t been all Bougainvillea, sunshine, and Calamari.  Some experiences felt dismissive, some choices by others that felt unjust.  Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but a little bumpy nevertheless. The kind of thing many, many people experience daily for years and years.

How can we not deny the “death” parts, but still choose life in healthy, non-Pollyanna ways?  Still keep perspective? Continue reading

Breathing in Advent

Confession:  Even though I wrote about it recently, I skipped church yesterday.  I didn’t skip because I wanted to have brunch with friends, or catch an early football game.  It’s just that I had been with people constantly last week over Thanksgiving and I knew I needed some true silence and solitude.

I wrote in my journal, “I need to breathe…have a Sabbath removed from frenzy. I need to listen for Your still small voice.  I need to fill up with You.  Speak into the silence, Lord. Come Holy Spirit.”

I’ve started to copy an acquaintance of mine who signs her emails: “Breathe deep. Lean hard. God’s love holds.”  I need that reminder

It made me think of this post originally from 2 years ago…

really wish I liked Yoga more.   It’s healthy.  And it’s so in.  But I’m not crazy about it.

Here are the only things I like about Yoga:

  • the comfy pants that are like legal pajamas,
  • the fact that you do it in a group with great people, and not, for example on a stationary bike in your basement (like a crazy introvert),
  • the corpse pose (where you lay still with soft music playing)…

And one more thing…                                                                                                                  They remind you to breathe.  In fact, I think that’s the only part I consistently get right when I go.  I mess up all the poses.  And I can’t make myself pretzelize (is that a word?) like my friend Brooke. Continue reading


Fall in Minnesota is like Mardi Gras.

Actually I don’t know that for sure because I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, but Fall is a huge event.  A blazing last hurrah before THE DEPRIVATION of light and color and warmth for a long, long, time.  Sounds like Mardi Gras to me.

When we left Minneapolis two weeks ago for Africa, the firey autumnal luster was fading but leaves were valiantly clinging to branches, reluctant to give up the fight and die for the long, long, long frozen season of dark.


Spoiler alert: they failed in their efforts.


Now, we return to the black crooked limbs silhouetted against a gray November sky.  The leaves have lost the battle and lay cold on the ground. Twinkle lights try to replace the glow of harvest color and there’s a tug-o-war going on between those who want to start the Christmas carols now and those who don’t want to leap over Thanksgiving straight to the 24 hour holiday sales of the day after. Continue reading

Where are You?

This past fall I was in Jerusalem with some friends.  One day we were visiting the Old City, a maze of narrow, ancient stone walkways that can confuse even the most veteran tourist.

One of the women in our group got separated from us and was lost.  And she didn’t have phone service.  So she was dependent on Arabic speaking shop keepers to figure out where she was, and where she was going.  Ahh the adventures of international travel.

It made me think of similar situations we’ve had in our family.  Some of us (I’m not going to name names) are known for getting lost – a tad disoriented, if you will.  And on cross-country road trips have been known to end up in the wrong state.  One daughter in particular has been know to have us “Mapquest her in”, keeping us on the phone like Mission Control.

If someone calls you and says, “I’m lost, can you help me?” what’s the first question you ask?

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Pregnant, part 3

This week I’m thinking about Mary and three spiritual practices that may help us prepare for Christmas.  You can read the first in the series here  and here if you want.

I’m not good at the practice of silence and solitude.  I like chatter and hustle and bustle because they feel productive.

Silence and solitude, at least from a distance, seem well, lonely and unconstructive. Like  waiting for a bus you’re not sure is coming.

However, though it’s not my go-to mode, over the years I’ve grudgingly come to experience great value in the discipline of being alone and quiet with God.

When I look at the account of the first Christmas, it’s not that there wasn’t chaos, confusion, and noise.  “The little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes”??  Are you kidding?

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Pregnant, part 2

This week I’m thinking about Mary and three spiritual practices that may help us prepare for Christmas.  You can read the first in the series here if you want.


As I write this I’m in a lovely setting, looking out over our snowy Minnesota – an outward picture of peace and calm that is definitely not what I’m feeling inside.  In my fingers and toes and stomach is… fear – that indefinable tingly, insufficient, I can’t get it done emotion.  I need to do, to create, to produce and I don’t have it in me.  I’m not enough.

Is that feeling more common at Christmas than at other times of the year?

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Spiritual ADD

Often people ask me for suggestions of good devotionals or Bible studies.  It happened again this past week after John preached on the Bread of Life and it got me to thinking.  I’m delighted to share what’s been helpful to me, but with a few caveats and a request to hear from you too.  I am so grateful for my relationship with Jesus but…

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Games With Points and Spiritual Practices

A Spirit-stretch Friday re-post as I’m enjoying the spiritual practice of a short Sabbatical… 

Spiritual practices are usually kind of like workouts at the gym.  They’re supposed to stretch the spiritual muscles that need stretching…to practice what you hope will one day come naturally (like running a mile on the treadmill so that if one day you’re being chased by a bear you won’t collapse in a heap after 15 yards).

But that can sound a little…intense, so a couple weeks ago I decided to make a little game for myself.  In our family we LOVE games, especially games with points.  (In case you’re worried about my theology about now, I know discipleship isn’t a game and it is about grace and cooperating with God’s work in our lives.  Just give this a chance! :))

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Why to Read the Book of Numbers

Numbers 9:1-12 was my devotional reading the other day.

Notice all the underlining and notes I’ve scribbled in this part of my Bible??  Hmmm…

You probably have it memorized, but in case you don’t I’ll remind you.  It’s the one with the instructions about celebrating Passover and very specific instructions for the Israelites celebrating it if they were unclean.

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