It was a beautiful summer evening. A fire was crackling in the outdoor fireplace. I was surrounded by friends dear to me who were in discussion of the ins and outs of normal life and how to make it glorifying to God.
Then, the conversation turned and went that direction. Once again, I wondered if I would ever not hurt and feel sad when my friends discussed pregnancy and childbirth. It was no fault of their own that their bodies functioned normally and mine did not.
The orange and blue bath towels made it through the laundry yesterday, but they’re still in a pile waiting to be folded and put away. The few dishes I’ve used in the last days are balancing in the sink, waiting to be washed. Then, I overslept this morning, perhaps from the relief of not needing to get up at 4am.
We felt eyes watching us as we ate by candlelight in front of the living room fireplace. It was late when Dave got home and we had sent the kids to their rooms. One by one, they meandered into the dining room, trying to watch us unobtrusively.
When my youngest brother was still a babe in the crib, I used to sit in the rocker in his room and read while he napped; it was quiet and peaceful. Often, I liked to just watch his rhythmic breathing, steady and restful. It meant life.
Two adults and a Cocker Spaniel living in a tiny house in Florida. Sounds like a dream right? Or at the very least, an episode of a TV show. It’s close, but not quite. The reality is that our tiny house is a 1950’s mobile home that boasts a whole 400 square feet; and we aren’t located on the beach, but actually in the middle of Pinecraft. Our tiny house doesn’t feature sleek, modern decor or trendy fold out tables and we certainly don’t have a loft. Instead we have a blue kitchen sink, a gold bathtub and painted plywood walls. But what it lacks in trends, our tiny home makes up for in charm, storage space and cheap rent!
People are confusing. They break promises, grow, move away, change their opinions—they’re hard to trust sometimes.
But God doesn’t change. He keeps His promises. He’s omnipresent, so He couldn’t move away. He should be easy to trust.
Have you ever stood in front of your closet and moaned, “I don’t have anything to wear!” I have, lots of times! Of course, it’s a ridiculous statement, since usually we say it staring into a closet jam-packed with options. A thrifter by nature, I’ve never lacked cute clothing and my closet shows my affinity for good deals. I love putting together an arresting outfit and for years I felt like the best way to do that was to have lots of options.
"So what do I do now?" I said to myself as I thought about the months stretched before me. I had just returned from Iraq and life in the states looked hard. There would be nine months of my life to live before I returned to land where I had felt purpose and fulfillment. Nine months of reading books and training to prepare me for my return. But what is a person supposed to do with nine months of waiting, of expectation for something?
Although we are separated in time from Jesus’ disciples by 2,000 years, our human nature has remarkably similar desires. We want our significance to be noticed by others; we want to belong to something bigger and grander than ourselves; and we want to be served rather than serve.
My labor began late in the evening of the first day of spring. Nine long months of pregnancy, many of them bed-ridden with acute morning sickness, had finally turned into the countdown we’d been waiting for. I was one week overdue. My husband was so excited to be a daddy; I was so excited to meet the cherished little person who had been forming inside my body for nearly a year, and our families were excitedly waiting by their phones for the announcement. After being awake all night with contractions, the sun finally rose on Friday, March 21. We put the finishing touches on our hospital bags, took a long walk, and headed for our midwife’s office.
When the Romans in the first century were trying to figure out magnification through glass, they probably had no idea how popular that concept would eventually become. But they should have figured it would become popular because we, as humans, are born with the desire to magnify something.
We peered out the window overlooking the neighborhood, our noses smashed up against the glass. “She has never mentioned the period. And I’m starting to develop. I’ll need a bra soon.” Her voice dropped. “Am I supposed to ask her to take me bra shopping?” she whispered, uncertainty in her eyes. “I guess so…” I stammered.
Every day during every year, generation after generation, people gather on the banks of a river that runs through the east side of Kathmandu. You would never be able to find the place on your own if it wasn’t for a helpful native or that tattered yellow brochure with the word “Attractions” printed in black letters on the front page and directions on the second. It’s not a cool fast flowing river but a slow dirty brown one that moves lazily on its way to the ocean thousands of miles away. This particular part of the river runs through a large Hindu temple compound consisting of large gaudy structures and wretched crumbling ones, their age revealed beneath the bright paint and worn rocks. Monkeys play along the ridges of the roofs and hang from the points of the pagodas; the loud calls they make and the evil stares they give make one feel like an intruder in their temple home.
The beginning of a new year can be exhilarating, a blank slate waiting to be filled with new opportunities and experiences. For many people this is a time to think about accomplishing new goals. Whether those goals are mentally filed away or physically written on paper, it can be fun to challenge oneself to accomplish something new.
Many of us have had the privilege of growing up in Christian homes and attending church ever since we were babies. We could recite Psalm 23 before we could read. We are liberally doused in the Word of God; and yet, it’s so easy to not let the Word penetrate our hearts and truly change us. Our greatest spiritual growth will not happen on Sunday morning, but in the quietness of our own homes as we let God speak to us through His Word. How do we move from a quick reading, that we soon forget, to digging into, learning from, and applying the Bible?
As a mental health professional I am in a trusted position. By the time people come to see me they are often feeling a mixture of desperation, anger, sadness and hurt. Let’s face it, no one seeks out help when life is working for them.
As a child I remember the thrill of unwrapping the family Nativity scene every year at Christmas. Mom allowed my siblings and me to set all the pieces in the perfect arrangement. We carefully rotated the shepherds, wise men, and animals so that they surrounded Mary and Joseph, and most importantly, the baby Jesus.
I’ve been on Instagram for a long time. Coming up on five years to be exact. I’ve seen a lot of things on IG in those five years: algorithm changes, trendy catch phrases, trendy fashion/home/life styles, and more. One thing that I keep seeing time and time again are strong reactions to those photos/accounts that are deemed “too perfect.” You know the ones I’m talking about. The photo of the perfectly organized kitchen, the stunning living room, and the wardrobe to die for. The perfectly dressed children, not to mention their seemingly complete cooperation in having a hundred photos taken of them daily. And did I mention the ones of the moms who are impeccably dressed in the latest boutique style on an almost daily basis?
I used to think that my personality would somehow magically change when I got married, that I would have a new air of confidence, that I’d be that cool newlywed at whom all the young teenage girls stared googly-eyed (like I used to do), that I’d be that hostess who’d give those guests hugs and I’d know how to tell them with perfect graciousness to fill the water glasses or fluff up the salad, and then we’d all laugh merrily and they’d stay till all the taper-candles smoked and dripped their last wax-tears somewhere down close to the tablecloth, and they’d leave and wouldn’t even feel like they had to offer to wash all those pretty dishes. I used to think that maybe, just maybe, I would slowly find myself recharged, not drained, by being with people.
Christmas gift shopping can either be an adventure or something to be dreaded depending on your preference. We are pleased to bring you this list of carefully curated gift ideas from trusted small businesses that we hope will take the guesswork out of holiday shopping this year. The best part? Every gift listed is $25 or less!