Wednesday, March 7, 2018

One Passionate Prayer

Image by Eelke
CC BY-ND 2.0

Hearing only chunks of their phone conversation set my adrenaline running.

"Accident. Car hydroplaned. Rolled over. Car is toast. I'm okay. Thank God for German engineering. State police."

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Refrigerator Rites

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

Our downstairs reeked of sweaty boys, Mountain Dew, pizza, and Doritos from their all-night LAN party--the male version of a slumber party where they eat, belch, pass gas, laugh, cheer, scream, and play online computer games until dawn. Our dining room looked like NASA's control room, (thanks to my techie husband), where testosterone-driven boys, connected by power cords and flashing screens, fixed their eyes on other-world action and threw themselves into the game.

We only had four rules:
  1. Wear headphones after midnight
  2. Keep the noise to a dull roar
  3. No one leaves the house except with a parent
  4. Help yourselves to anything in the refrigerator
Believe it or not, the last rule was the hardest for them to follow. To some, refrigerator rites were almost as personal as snooping through someones dresser drawers; you just didn't rummage around another person's refrigerator and help yourself to their food. But, this rite served two purposes in our home, and we enforced it: First, it relieved me from hostess duty. Second, and most important, it made the boys feel comfortable, like they were at home.

A few of these guys grew up fatherless and I knew what that felt like. I knew how important it was to have a safe place to escape the stress of a broken home--even if it was just for a few hours; a place where they could participate in a whole and healthy family--where two parents lived happily under one roof. Refrigerator rites declare "You're part of the family, part of the whole."

God offers us refrigerator rites, too. He adopts us as his own children (purchased by the blood of Jesus) and says, "You're part of the family. What's mine is yours. Help yourselves." But how many of us shy away, feel like we're eating a piece of forbidden fruit if we take anything from God's refrigerator? Maybe growing up without a daddy makes it awkward at first? We might need more time growing comfortable sharing the same bag of chips before we help ourselves to the last bagel without asking.

One morning after seven years of all-night LAN parties, I found a dollar and a note pinned to my 'frige. It read, "Dear Mrs. Aaron's Mom, Sorry, I ate your last bagel. Here's a dollar. Ben." I chuckled and gave him back the dollar.

Maybe we're like Ben, uncomfortable taking something from God without offering payment, knowing the value of what God's offering. 

Help us to simply accept our place in your family through the blood of your Son, Jesus. May we learn that there is no other payment necessary to find a place around your table. Help us to spend more time with you so until sitting in your presence feels like home--enough like home that we can help ourselves to anything in your refrigerator. Amen.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Image by Natallo
CC BY-ND 2.0
May He keep us centered and devoted to Him, following the life path He has cleared, watching the sign posts, walking at the pace and rhythms He laid down for our ancestors. 1 Kings 8:57-58 The Message

“What good is an island no one can find?” grumbles a pirate sailing upon the Black Pearl.

“What good is a compass that’s broken?” asks his mate. “It doesn’t point north!”

“Who’s looking for north?!” retorts Captain Jack Sparrow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Where's Your Gaze?

by Ben Raynal
Flickr.com_/photos/zubrow/5516105138_CC BY-ND 2.0
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts…Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave all evil in the dust.
Proverbs 4:23, 25-27 (The Message) 

Charging ahead of us towards the playscape, my eldest grandson keeps looking backwards over his shoulder. Eager to be first, he measures his footing not by what’s in front of him, but rather how quickly his siblings and cousins are closing the gap behind him.

Inevitably, he stumbles and falls.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lessons in the Vine

Grape Harvest @ Gouveia Vineyards
Wallingford, CT
Image by Peter Aldrich

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4 (NIV)

In the early morning sun, grapes hung fragrant, ripe and heavy from the vine.  The vineyard buzzed with activity from both man and bee as we harvested our community's first autumn crop. I met the challenge cheerfully, anticipating time spent outdoors tending the vines alongside my husband and neighbors.

Conversations in the field were as plentiful as the grapes. Some were boisterous and jolly, awaiting the end-of-harvest drinks shared in celebration. Others were soft spoken and patient as they taught their little ones the proper way to cut the fruit from the vine.

There was so much going on around me but the more grapes I harvested the more I found my spirit contemplating the lessons in the vine.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Training Kids to Rule the Playground

I sat sunning myself on the park bench watching her almost-five-year-old self scoop and sift sand through her fingers while eyeing the boy across the sandbox digging holes with his long-handled shovel. She offered small talk but he'd have none of it and pushed his shovel deeper into the sand as though flexing his muscles to impress her.

Amused by their interplay, wondering how it might end, I kept a watchful eye.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

On Growing Up Fully Alive

Image by Ted Kerwin
My two middle grandchildren started preschool this week. While I'm excited for this milestone, deep down my heart wants to wrap them up and put them on a shelf for safe-keeping. But that's impossible and it wouldn't be fair to them (or us or the world, for that fact), if stopping time were actually an option.

There's just something about their innocence, their childish giggles and freely-given embraces that I want to keep around forever. They face each new day fully alive, anticipating new experiences looking at all things as if it was brand new and I don't want that to change in them.

In Madeleine L'Engle's devotional, Glimpses of Grace, she quotes a passage from Meet the Austins on family comforts:

"Johnny said, 'Why do people have to ... grow up and get married, and everybody grow away from each other? I wish we could just go on being exactly the way we are!'