July 21, 2015
Thanksgiving

Contentment and Thanksgiving

How content am I in God’s love? It is so easy for me to compare myself to others: their skills and abilities, success, popularity, etc. This frequently leads to a selfish desire to have what they have because I’m dissatisfied with myself and God’s blessings in my life. When my life circumstances are stressful and difficult, it’s so easy for me to think how unfair it is–how unfair God is because I deserve something better. I complain, usually to myself, sometimes to others and on rare occasions directly to God. If I say I believe God is the rightful author […]
December 4, 2014
Holidays

Handling the Holidays

What do the holidays mean for you? Are they times you look forward to or are they times you dread? Are they full of warmth, love and family or are they lonely, dark and painful? For some, the holidays bring excited anticipation of rich food, colorful décor, festive carols and family closeness. For many though, this time of year serves as a poignant reminder of loss, regret, stress, worry, business, grief and pain. And the same is true for our children. The “most wonderful time of the year” is also the most stressful. And stress is not always bad or […]
May 27, 2014
Empathy

The Importance of Empathy

Have you ever had a rough day? Have you experienced a failure or setback at work? Have you been hurt by the words or actions of others? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, you probably also have attempted to alleviate the accompanying ache by telling someone about it. You do that because you want someone to hear you, to affirm the nature and intensity of the emotions you are experiencing and to simply be present while you verbally unload. And as a socially savvy adult, you probably know exactly who you can go to for those […]
February 11, 2014
Family

Parenting Is No Simple Task

Parenting is no simple task. Sure it happens every day, is a part of every culture, and has occurred since the dawn of time, but that does not make it ordinary or intuitive! Many parents I work with feel discouraged because they place upon themselves the expectation that they ‘should’ know what to do in every situation. They feel they ‘should’ always have a calm, patient attitude when dealing with their children, and that they ‘should’ be able to get their kids to listen and obey all the time.   While these are not necessarily bad goals to be working […]
May 31, 2013

Courage and Maturity

Part two of a series on courage. When Israel’s beloved King David was close to death, he charged his son ­Solomon saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth, so be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to Him, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go” (1 Kings 2:2-3). King David knew that strength and courage were linked with maturity, responsibility, […]
May 22, 2013

Courage – What is it?

Part one of a series on courage. Legendary coach John Wooden once said, “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” I like that–many of the ingredients that create success or failure are not within my control. I can’t manage the economy, the weather or even another person’s behaviors. Being courageous, however, is completely up to me. I can be courageous regardless of what is happening around me. In being courageous, I can be successful. The iconic picture of courage is of fire fighters, law enforcement officers, and soldiers risking their lives for someone else. Staff […]
December 4, 2012
Christmas

A New Christmas Song

Like many families, the day after Thanksgiving we begin listening to Christmas music—fun favorites like Mannheim Steamroller’s renditions of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Avalon’s versions of Joy to the World and Winter Wonderland; and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas arrangements. We enjoy the traditional songs like Away in a Manger, Silent Night, O Holy Night and What Child is This? Handel’s Messiah is incredible—especially the Hallelujah Chorus*.   This week I discovered a new Christmas song. Well, I should say, the lyrics of a song: “. . . Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality […]
November 9, 2012
Conquering Mountains

Conquering Mountains

I passed the half-century mark a few years ago. My friends and I shared laughs about getting old – mostly at my expense. I reminded them, “I can’t be over the hill, I’ve never been on top!” In fact, I am now certain I’m not over “the hill,” for there are whole mountain ranges yet to explore. Sir Edmund Hillary once said, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” He knew that it is not the circumstances that dictate our lives but our response to them. When faced with daunting mountains; whether they are Mt. Everest or equally […]
September 18, 2012

Your Focus Determines Your Direction

When I rediscovered cycling a number of years ago, I bounced over every rock and slipped into each crack on the road. Such ineptness is rather troublesome when you ride on skinny tires at high rates of speed. The impression I made on my riding buddies was immediate – they left a rather large “no ride zone” around me. The problem was that once I saw the impending hazard I focused on it. I thought about the obstacle and even thought about avoiding it but I kept looking at the rock – inevitably colliding with it. Fortunately my driving instructor’s […]
March 22, 2011

Dare to Hope

Calvin and June* were madly in love. It mattered little that neither graduated from high school or could hold a job for more than a few months. They were together, living in a room in her parent’s home. Fast forward ten years, they are now living in a two-bedroom apartment with two kids. Calvin’s work is sporadic. June’s job cleaning the laundry mat is  consistent but doesn’t cover the bills. They barely speak to each other unless they’ve been drinking—then it’s a steady flow of acidic contempt. Searching for help, June called a local church and spoke with the pastor […]