Stop Trying So Hard

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace lately. It is a concept I have always struggled with. I mean, I know salvation is by grace…not by works lest any man should boast. (I grew up Southern Baptist, after all!) But I am constantly catching myself working. Do I read my Bible because I love God and want to know Him? Or because I think I am earning “points” with him? Do I treat people with kindness because that is how God treats me, or because I want people to like me? How seldom do I really just rest in the grace God gives me? My pastor has been teaching from the book of Luke on Wednesdays, and last week he spoke on the parable of the prodigal son. He brought out something I have never considered: that when the son returned, the Father...

Behind the Pages

Not Good Enough, my contribution to THE ELI DIARIES series, is available now! The brainchild of prolific author, Bill Myers, this series asks the question, “What if Jesus were in high school today?” With that question in mind, Bill asked a few of us to write stories from the perspective of one of the biblical characters: Mary Magdalene (Maggie), Judas (Jude), Thomas (Tommy), Martha, and Peter (Pete). Jesus, in this series, is called Eli, and each character interacts with Him in different ways. And each character, at this point in the story, is still a seeker of Truth. None, as yet, are followers. When Bill called me to discuss writing Martha’s stories, I laughed. He saw Martha, pre-salvation, as a hypocritical, holier-than-thou pharisee whose...

Remembering My Mom

My mother passed away on October 6. She was 62. Eight months ago, her only health issue was recurring kidney stones. Eight months ago, she had so many plans for the future: She had her Retirement countdown clock going. She planned to return to the courtroom as a lawyer, once she finished her tenure as an elementary school principal. She had her art room ready so she could devote more time to that gift. She talked about traveling to Japan, where she was born, and to SE Asia, to visit my younger sister. She was going to come out to  Emma’s graduation in May and visit my youngest sister in Texas. She was going to live part-time in Tennessee, to be closer to family and friends there. All those plans came to an abrupt halt when, on March 26, she was diagnosed...

Adventures in SE Asia

My son, Thomas, and I spent an amazing two weeks on the other side of the world. Because of where many of the folks I saw there are working, I have to be careful how much I say. So forgive me if I seem vague. It is not because I want to be, but because that is necessary for these precious brothers and sisters. Part I – Fun with Family Our first stop was the country where my sister and her family lives. It is a beautiful, though humid, place filled with amazing people. There were also some strange sights. Like this: That’s a toilet. ON THE FLOOR. And if you’ll look around, you’ll see there’s no toilet paper. Just a water hose and a floor drain. Thankfully, there were also “western” toilets. I am not ashamed to say that I...

Oh, The Places We’ll Go!

Friends, I could use your prayers: My son, Thomas, and I leave tonight for a two-week trip to SE Asia! We are super excited and a little bit nervous. It’s a LONG way away! Our primary reason for going is to visit my sister and her family. They serve in a closed country in that region. Alexis and I will take a short trip to Singapore, just for fun. Then we’ll all go to Thailand: My sister and niece will attend an educational conference there, and I will teach a few classes to high school students and parents on college prep writing skills. We are excited to go, and amazed at all the provisions the Father lavished on us along the way. The Conference Director told me she would love to have a new book for each student at the conference. All 250 of them. I...