Kneelers

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“Mom, what were those dresses made of, again?” Even when it’s not near our anniversary, I often find my girls huddled around our wedding album. They laugh
at the big hair, dyed-to-match pumps, and shrub-sized flower arrangements.

“It was the style back then,” I explain.

They love to turn the pages of our story: church ceremony, roast beef dinner, touching toasts, cake-cutting, then late-night dancing. One day, I looked over my girls’ shoulders at my nearly twenty-six year-old memories, and it struck me…

The most vivid memory I have of our wedding wasn’t captured, and I never realized it before. Continue reading

If I Had a Hammer

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All he wanted to do was hammer something.

Eli* wasn’t a regular church-goer and wasn’t sure how to find the book of Galatians in his Bible, but he heard there might be an opportunity to build things, so he signed up.

“When are we going to build stuff?” he asked as we settled in for our group devotion.

“Soon,” I said, but I wasn’t sure. Not at all. We were barely 24 hours into the youth-group service trip when I realized things were out of our control. Our group was randomly split up at lunch, placed in prayer groups with people we didn’t know, and assigned to various work-sites without our consent. Clearly, we weren’t in charge.  Continue reading

Unbroken Bones

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Every year, as Easter draws near, I think about Will*, a student in my Sunday school group a few years back. One morning during Lent, we were revisiting Jesus’ arrest, suffering, and death.

We discussed the road to the cross and the method of crucifixion. We read about the inscription, the casting lots, and about how the soldiers didn’t break Jesus’ legs.

The kids, especially the boys, were curious about the details of crucifixion: How did they get the nails in? Since Jesus is God, did he feel it? Did he scream/fight back? Was blood pouring down the hill?

I guess I’m used to their weird curiosities and obsessions, so I marched through their questions like a pro, without flinching, until this one came from Will’s half-shouting voice: (more…)

The Same 88 Keys

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My piano teacher ended every lesson the same way. After thirty minutes of my plunking on her Steinway, she would scoot me off the bench to watch her play some impressive, advanced piece. At the end of the last note, she’d look up at me, gesture to the keyboard, and say, “Now remember, you have these same 88 keys on your piano at home.”

She was trying to encourage me, but sometimes, especially after a rough lesson, it felt like an accusation: You have everything you need… so why aren’t you playing better? What’s wrong with you?

After four years of lessons, it was evident that I lacked many things, but mostly I needed a deeper desire and a different DNA. No matter how hard we tried, those 88 keys just weren’t enough. (more…)

When You’re Wondering if Your Personality is an Effect of the Fall

 

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An online quiz promised to tell me what kind of cookie matches my personality. I was hoping for chocolate chip, but I got oatmeal raisin. The shame. Maybe I’ll do better with my spirit animal …

We’re obsessed. Chances are, if you’re like me, you know your Myers Briggs letters, or your Disney princess, or maybe even what Hogwart’s school fits you best. I’m Gryffindor.

Of course it’s harmless and fun, but with all this talk, I’m finding myself ranking my personality high or low, evaluating, comparing, wishing…. Continue reading

Ordinary Time

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Week four of a New Year’s resolution is not for sissies. Week four is when you notice your biggest supporters, Motivation, Novelty, and Determination, have all packed up camp and headed to wherever they hide. I’m guessing they ran way ahead of me to the final days of December. Or rushed on to Lent. Or are waiting for me in the countdown to swim season. Bye, Felicia. 
Continue reading