March 30th, 2016
All I knew was a dog was barking and waking me up. In my semi-lucid state, I wondered what Mackie, my brother’s Yorkie was barking at. That’s when it hit me, I wasn’t at my brother’s anymore. Instead, I was waking in my parent’s RV to the sound of a neighbor dog. It reminds me of that famous L Frank Baum’s line, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
When I went inside the house, I turned on the news to scan today’s headlines. I was tempted to modify the line to say, “Toto, we’re not in America anymore.” When I see the changes that have happened to the country I love just during my lifetime, it makes me sad. I’ve witnessed more and more changes I never thought I would see.
Something has been happening in recent years. I read that the world has changed more in the last three decades than in the previous twenty centuries! The changes we’ve experienced in the United States and the world have been more numerous, consequential and more threatening than any time in recent history. The potential for Christians to be overcome and lose their voice is great. We want to know what God’s Word say about the cultural and spiritual changes, and how to live faithfully in the midst of this chaotic world.
In the coming weeks I’m going to share my views on nine trends that I see that I never thought I’d see, and that have significant implications. They are changes that I believe contribute to the deteriorating moral and spiritual culture in which we live. We’re not in Kansas anymore. America today isn’t what we thought it was. We must learn from history by measuring the past against the present.
March 25th, 2016
This year keep Easter “hoppy” for everyone with some silly Easter jokes.
Q: Why do we paint Easter eggs? A: Because it’s easier than trying to wallpaper them!
Q: How do bunnies stay healthy? A: Eggercise
Q: What happened to the egg when he was tickled too much? A: He cracked up.
Q: How do rabbits travel? A: By hareplane. (Me too!)
Knock, knock! Who’s there? Alma. Alma who? Alma Easter candy is gone. Can I have some more?
Knock, knock! Who’s there? Donna. Donna who? Donna want to decorate some eggs?
Knock, knock! Who’s there? Heidi. Heidi who? Heidi the eggs around the house.
Knock, knock! Who’s there? Harvey. Harvey who? Harvey good Easter everyone!!
March 23rd, 2016
Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8
When I read the gospels leading up to the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, I cringe because I visualize the soldiers torturing Him and tearing off His garments. The reality of Jesus suffering sinks in. I can only imagine the pain and humiliation He endured being exposed like that. Yet, He suffered for us with grace and compassion.
Many of us reacted the same way to the news this week of the brutal act of terrorism in Brussels. In the face of so much suffering, help me to be compassionate and never give in to indifference or cynicism.
This Holy week, let’s work harder to be models of His life of love and compassion to everyone around us.
March 18th, 2016
St. Patrick’s Day was here and Irish it lasted a week. There’s plenty Irish goodness to celebrate. It’s true, there’s a lot more to St. Patrick’s Day than most people know. Starting with Irish wit as found below:
Q: What do you call a fake stone in Ireland? A: A sham-rock!
Q: Why do people wear shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day? A: Real rocks are too heavy!
Q: Why can’t you iron a four-leaf clover? A: Because you shouldn’t press your luck!
Q: Why do frogs like St. Patrick’s Day? A: Because they’re already wearing green!
Q: How can you tell if a leprechaun is having a good time? A: He is Dublin over with laughter!
Q: What is Irish and left out on the lawn all summer? A: Paddy O’Furniture!
Q: When is an Irish potato not an Irish potato? A: When it’s a French fry!
May you wake each day with a smile on your lips and joy in your heart.
March 16th, 2016
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4
When I started my journey as a traveling therapist, and each time I transition somewhere new, I have to consider that the Lord uses our sacrifices to shower blessings on others. And it may be in another part of the world. The Holy Spirit works as He wills, when He wills and where He wills; we must simply entrust ourselves to His plan. We know only that our commitment to obey His will for blessings to flow.
Surrendering, even with the knowledge that I’m being used to bless others, moving around isn’t always romantic or easy. I ask the Lord to free me from the need to control the plans. Of course, when I make a sacrifice to leave my friends and family to serve a new community I would like to see a positive outcome. But like all outcomes, it’s not always on our time. It’s in God’s hands.
During this Lenten season, let’s pray to trust that God will use every good impulse for His glory and our salvation. Amen
March 13th, 2016
Ahh … Mud Season in the Upper Peninsula is yet another tourist season that often goes without notice and varies in intensity. I’m quickly learning it’s a time of year when the simple task of making it to, and from, work a challenge. There was a time when I used to snicker at the sight of those jacked-up, four-wheel-drive truck with tires taller than me. I’ve stopped laughing now that I know those are the ONLY vehicles that can safely navigate some of these monstrous mud holes. If any of you reading this have experienced “Mud Season” on a dirt road, you know what I mean.
For those of my friends living in Florida, Mud Season is a period in the north that takes place in late winter/early spring when dirt paths such as roads, ski hills and hiking trails become VERY muddy from melting snow and rain.
Still not sure what I’m talking about? Mud season occurs only in places where the ground freezes deeply in winter, is covered by snow, and thaws in spring. Dirt roads and paths become muddy because the deeply frozen ground thaws from the surface down as the air temperature warms above freezing which has happened early this year. The snow has melted away but the frozen lower layers of ground prevent water from percolating into the soil so the surface layers of soil become saturated with water and turn to mud. Very thick, slippery, nasty mud.
Mud season’s also characterized by giant puddles along paved roads, from large piles of snow melting, that have no place to drain off to. Lots of puddle dodging on the way to work. Don’t bother washing your car, it’s only going to be covered in mud by the next puddle.
Every Spring is probably a little different. Last year it came later and the mud wasn’t as severe in the area. This year it’s early and Yoopers are struggling to keep their sanity. Some say the severity of Mud Season depends on how deep the frost permeates the ground in winter. Others claim it’s related to the amount of rain we receive in the early Spring. Personally, I think it depends on how quickly the sub-surface defrosts… Who knows? I just know we transitioned from below zero temperatures to mid-50’s very quickly. Voila – mud!
Nonetheless, those that live in this region wouldn’t trade the joys of Upper Peninsula living for anything. I think take some even take perverse pride in their “fifth season.” Yoopers are a hardy folk!
March 9th, 2016
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:8
We all need to improve and change for the better. Lent helps us fight against our faults and make way for change.
And even when we want it, change is both appealing and frustrating. On one hand there is so much we would like to change about ourselves from eating better, exercising more or getting rid of fears and prejudice. On the other hand we can be so set in our ways. So reluctant to move out of our comfort zones.
Lord, grant us the joy of knowing change for the better as we trust in you more. Amen.
March 6th, 2016
In case this winter has you feeling blue, let me share something enchanting. I drove downstate (across the Mackinac) to visit family this weekend and to witness the phenomenon of Michigan’s blue ice that’s drawing spectators from near and far. If you are driving over the Mackinac Bridge on Lake Michigan during the day, you can’t help but notice the ice on the lake is a distinctive color right now: blue.
I couldn’t help but linger on this pale blue ice. The nearly neon chunks are piling up on Lake Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge and beaches and are especially mesmerizing against the muted tones of the snow and winter sky.
While Ice and snow usually appear white, locals say that the unusual color is a common phenomenon in the area when the ice gets dammed up with large sheets of ice crashing crazily against each other along the shores. The ice crystals are coarser and the ice has fewer bubbles, light waves are able to travel deeper into the ice giving it the blue hue.
Fascinating, isn’t it?!
March 4th, 2016
Wednesday was National Banana Cream Pie Day. I hope you had a slice, because I did. A banana cream pie fulfills a lot of needs, all in one slice. It’s sweet, sticky, crunchy and soft, all at the same time. It makes me smile and think of silly pie jokes:
Q: Why did the Pie go to the doctor? A: It was feeling crummy
Q: Why did Pie go to the Dentist? A: To get a filling
Q: What’s the best thing to eat in math class? A: Pi
March 2nd, 2016
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. Proverb 20:19
One of the things that can destroy any church or ministry is gossip. Gossip divides communities. Gossip destroys relationships. It’s one of the enemy’s greatest weapons.
It seems so harmless at first, just passing along something we find amusing, or have seen or heard. Haven’t we all been guilty of giving a benefit of the doubt to someone we know and like and cast a bad light on those we don’t necessarily care for in conversation? Before long, the conversation can be a subtle but effective form of character assassination. And without realizing it we’re modeling our behavior to those around us.
To be honest gossiping can feel good, even self-righteous, to point out another person’s faults. Our TV and social media seem to glorify gossip. But in the end, we all suffer: victim, speaker, listener. Lord, during this Lenten season save us from the scourge of gossip. Amen