What is work?

I declared these past 10 days Take Your Wife To Work Week. My husband works for an international humanitarian organization and travels quite a bit.  Due to my old job responsibilities it was never an option for me go with him.

As I made the transition to my new role in the university, we quickly realized there was a window of time for me to travel to Costa Rica with him.

It didn't hurt that we tacked on a couple days to the front end to relax at the beach.  However, we soon found ourselves at Nate's boss' home ready to begin our work week.  I figured if you have to lesson plan, what's the difference between my home office or working in a different country with my husband?

My other companions on this trip were textbooks - leadership, spiritual formation, writing - along with other "fun" reads like Wendell Berry and John O'Donohue. As Nate sat for long planning meetings, only breaking for meals.  I found myself diving into outlining, reading and lecture writing. Ten hours later I had finalized a syllabus and planned two lectures. I had learned new presentation software and done mental gymnastics in order to translate ideas to a new generation of students.

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On becoming a godmother

I was recently asked by a dear friend to be her daughter's godmother, and not just in the figurative sense. In the case of a tragedy, we are the literal guardians of little Maya. The request came over lunch: two friends eating tomatoes and mozzarella catching up about the last month we hadn't seen each other was about to get a lot more serious.

"So Erik and I are working on our will and we wanted to ask if you and Nate would consider being guardians." She went on to say of course they understood this is a big request and we could of course say no.

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Grace and the Dog Named Moses

I married into a dog.  Named Moses.  On many occasions we like each other.  Others we don’t. 

Moses and I walk most mornings.  His German rottweiler breed lends my Irish human one the look of various lethal weapons.  Few know he’s little more than a slobbery teddy bear who usually just wants to cuddle.  Nevertheless, the script of our daily walks typically looks about the same. 

  • Abbie exits back door. 
  • Moses jumps rambunctiously on Abbie, zealous to run a marathon.
  • Abbie gets frustrated.
  • Abbie says in loud voice, “Calm down, you idiot!!” (or “big talker,” “pill,” “*$&*,” depending on how bad my attitude is that morning).  In twenty minutes you’ll be begging for mercy.”
  • Moses continues jumping rambunctiously.
  • Abbie and Moses walk. 
  • Approximately nine minutes later, Moses poops in wealthy person’s driveway.
  • Abbie gets mad.
  • Eighteen minutes later Moses starts lagging behind.
  • Abbie condescendingly looks in Moses’ tired eyes, “You never learn…”
  • Moses pants heavily.
  • Abbie drags Moses home.


As I made fun of Moses on our morning walk today, it dawned on me that as much of an idiot as he seems at times his issues really aren’t that far from mine. 

The Paralysis of Beginning

We've been home for a week.  During this time we've had our first taste of summer - literally. We have started harvesting cucumbers, zucchini, just a couple handfuls of raspberries and tomatoes, and, wait for it, two blueberries! Jam making has commenced as well: Apricot, Vanilla, White Wine and Strawberry Thai Herb.  Our lovely and creative housemate, Beth, helped with these and now we take a breather before this weekend's Plum Cardamom followed by a Tomato Sauce Extravaganza in a couple weeks.

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Does Your Marriage Matter?

            Almost twenty-three years ago, my friend Torry pulled me out of a Tijuana gutter. It would be the last gutter I would lay in. The next day was the first in a continuing two-decade journey into my sobriety. I spent that final night of intoxication sleeping at Torry’s parents. It was a place I had been inebriated many times before.

            Even as a self-focused, addicted teen, I knew something was different about Dick and Connie’s place. Whenever there, my life seemed to find more ballast. There was just something about the spirit of their home. There was something special about them together.

            More then anything, when I was there, I knew I was accepted. Conversations were never started with an ulterior motive.

The Way of Love

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
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Dodgeball and Common Grace: A shot at long devotion

   I got a call from Lily’s kindergarten teacher asking if I would come in and volunteer at lunchtime as a playground dad. Someone else could not make it and they needed a replacement. It was early September and the year had just begun.  I agreed and showed up the following Friday for duty.

            Somehow, that one afternoon has turned into four years of Friday lunches, countless dodge ball games and amazing opportunities to let kids know they matter.

            More then anything, it has been a chance to be available—available to my daughter, available to her friends. I never show up with an agenda and I don’t really consider it ministry. It is just life. It is my daughter’s life, and I get tobe a part of it in a way that matters to her.

Finding Home Sweet Home

This past weekend, I hosted an open mic/art show at the homestead.  It was an evening the had me enthralled and I didn't want it to end.  A poet, a sculptor, a singer and a spoken word performer, amongst a few more writers and creative geniuses, graced us with their offerings.  It was such a sacred time that ushered summer in with profound, but gentle truth.  I am almost at the end of making a big transition that I announced last week. Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement in this season.  It has meant so much to me and my husband. 

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Ten ways to make sure you only receive polite, obligatory gestures on Father's Day

  1. Show up only for milestones, but never for the mundane.
  2. Disregard your health.
  3. Lecture your child on the benefits of a clean bedroom.
  4. Drop off your children at church on Sunday and pick them up when they're done.
  5. Take your kids to the movies or give them money when they earn good grades; withhold favors when they don’t. 
  6. Buy a big screen TV and then say you can’t afford piano lessons.
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Car-wrecks and Surrender

Trying to get a tragedy off my heart this morning.  

Friends Ryan and Alyssa are on staff at a church in Sunland, California. Leaving the parking lot after youth group Tuesday, a girl haphazardly hit reverse instead of drive, slamming through a fence and dropping 11.5 feet head-on into the cement ravine.  She’ll be let off life-support this morning, after her sister returns from a trip in London and has time enough to say goodbye. 

But it’s not working.

I tried praying, talking to a friend, reading, walking our dog—all to no avail.  I tried praying again—same story.  Relief remains distant.  Release from thinking through times when I’ve hit the wrong petal, and panicked, or was in R instead of D, but somehow didn’t reap fatality.

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