Shut Your Mouth!

I have several talents I am grateful for, that I hone and try to improve, that I practice alone and with groups. But I have one particular talent that brings me far more shame than pleasure: speaking without thinking. I have used this talent in far too many places with far too many people to far too disastrous results. It’s not always end-of-the-world stuff. But it is always annoying at best and damaging at worst. When I was in college, my friends would laugh at me because, no matter what was being discussed, I’d have a story for it. Rather than listening to what others were saying, engaging them, asking them questions about their story, I sat waiting, mentally preparing for when I could speak and regale the group with my story. Looking back now, I realize how...

The Semester Exam Principle

“You’re going to test us over EVERYTHING we’ve learned this whole semester?” Semester exams are just a few weeks away and students who have barely said a word for the last few months are suddenly wide awake and quite vocal. “But why??” “We can use notes, right?” “You don’t mean everything do you?” I used to be super easy in my semester exams. It is a lot of material, and the students do have several other classes to keep up with, and, yes, you can successfully navigate life without being able to identify a predicate nominative or explain the theme of “Tell Tale Heart.” I have changed, though. Now, I do test over everything, and I do expect my students to be able to identify a predicate...

The WORST 4-Letter Word

There’s a new 4-letter word these days: a word that causes chaos in checkout lines and rages at red lights, a word whose very syllable makes us cringe in horror. We hear – or experience – this word and our entire day can be ruined. That word? Move small children away from the screen….           WAIT. Mmmm-hmmm. We used to have wait for stuff all the time. I waited for “Wizard of Oz” to come on TV (once a year, at Christmas, right after “Sound of Music”). I waited for cartoons on Saturday mornings. I waited to get my film developed to see what my pictures looked like. Later, I waited for Dave to get off the phone so I could get online. Then I waited for the dial-up internet to pop up on my...

“Extracting” Sin

God has been working on me, lately, in the area of hating sin. We hear this a lot in reference to others: “Hate the sin, love the sinner” and all. But adages like that tend to make me even more self-righteous than I already am. I need to focus far more on my own sins than the sins of others. I was reading part of A.W. Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God (free on Kindle!), and was hit pretty hard with this discussion of our sinful nature: “The tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled money changers from the temple. And we shall...

Prepare to Be Hated

I was reading an article today about the young terminally ill woman in Oregon who chose to end her life last weekend. The author, Joni Erickson Tada, gave her perspective on the controversy. I thought it was a gracious and well thought out discussion of a complex issue. But many readers did not think that. In fact,as I scrolled through the comments, I saw that several readers were angry – VERY angry. And they weren’t just angry that Christians are giving opinions on this matter, they are angry at Christian opinions in general. They are angry that we hold to scriptural principals. They are angry that we believe the Bible. They are angry that we think we’re right about what we believe. So. Very. Angry. Part of me wanted to just exit out of the...

On Finding God’s Will for Your Career

“How do I know what God wants me to do?” This is a question that people of all ages ask – from teens finishing high school to retirees finishing their careers. First, God has called all of us who are believers in Him to do the same thing: live a life that glorifies God in all that we do. This is of primary importance. I  have had several different occupations in my life – day care worker; bank teller; stay-at-home mom; missionary; teacher; writer – but in every one of those jobs, I was first and foremost a follower of Christ. If you aren’t seeking Him in ALL you do, nothing you do will be truly satisfying. If you are seeking Him, and you’re looking to begin, or maybe change, a career, here are a couple questions to ask: “What do you...