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    Their Son Was a King

    We became first-time parents in a government building in a foreign land. There was no pomp and circumstance. No parade. No party. No family. No fanfare. And although our adoption agency properly prepared us for such a low-level event, that first-day was not the norm for most first-time parents. Joseph and Mary became first-time parents in a cave[1] in a city faraway from their home of Nazareth. There was no pomp and circumstance. No parade. No party (except with shepherds).[2] No family.[3] No fanfare. And although angels properly prepared them for the significance of this birth, their first-day was not the norm for first-century parents, especially parents of royalty. You…

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    One White Woman’s Thoughts on Being Multi-Cultural

    “Before you go and live in Guatemala to study Spanish, you need to read this book,” my friend advised. Easily detecting my time-is-of-the-essence-say-it-like-it-is-I-can-do-this-on-my-own base culture, she knew I needed a multi-cultural “crash course” before my extended stay in Guatemala. As she is a second-generation missionary having served more than fifty years in Latin America, I heeded her advice, and I’m glad I did. Unknown cultural blinders fell from my eyes when I read her recommendation, From Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures. The multi-cultural information gleaned from this book not only made me aware of what I had been doing wrong while serving in U.S.…

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    How to Embrace Necessary Change

    Seasons of life change, careers change, organizations change, and relationships and friendships change. Change is—as they say—inevitable. How do you deal with change? Do you embrace it, reluctantly (and stubbornly) submit to it, or run full-speed in the opposite direction of it? I’m a loyal person by default. Perhaps you are as well. I’m loyal to good people, good organizations, and good products. There’s nothing wrong with loyalty per se, except when that loyalty exceeds the season for which that allegiance is needed. Thus I find I struggle with change. Well-known author, leadership coach, and clinical psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud believes that if we do not embrace necessary change (i.e.…

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    My Superhero Complex

    This blog was originally posted on February 8, 2016. But as many of us are feeling so weary from “doing it all” lately, I felt it time to recirculate this article to remind us (myself included) of our need for rest and reliance in our real superhero. “The caregiver needs rest, too,” our Canadian ministry cohort advised. “You need to take time out,” my former internship director urged. “You need to rest,” my husband kindly said. Who? Me? Nah, I’m fine. I just need a bigger cape. I bet you, like me, have an invisible superhero cape. I wear mine daily and take on all of the responsibilites that come…

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    Invoking Culture Change

    “I thank God that Thou hast not made me a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.”[1] This was a common Jewish prayer recited in the first century. It made clear the pecking order at that time. As a woman and a Gentile, I would have been considered the lowest of the low. What is your reaction to this prayer? Perhaps it’s one of the following: Oh, that’s horrible. How bigoted. How unbelievably biased.   I’m so glad times have changed. To that last response I ask, “Have they? Have times really changed?” The apostle Paul addressed the crassness of this caste system in his letter to the churches of Galatia:…

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    The First Easter

    The male disciples deserted him. The women distantly watched him. The religious leaders gloated over him. And the Roman soldiers guarded him—even in death. This was the stage for the first Easter Sunday. It began as one of darkness and separation. Mourning and sorrow. Disillusionment and disbelief. Death lingered. It was a Sunday without fanfare or trumpets, without brightly attired dresses or wrappings, without large crowds or attractions. It was simple. It was subtle. It was serious. It was a Sunday where Jesus’s followers were dispersed and scattered. Pause thinking of the first Easter for just a moment and return your mind to yesterday’s Easter. The vast majority of the…

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    Why You Need to Put Yourself in a Time-Out

    Have you put yourself in a time-out lately? If your kids are grown you probably haven’t used that term in awhile. Even if you have young children you’re probably thinking I’m asking that question wrong. Kids are put in time-out, not grown-ups. Possibly you have neither kids nor nieces nor nephews and have no idea what I’m talking about. A time-out is the imposed temporary suspension of activities for a short amount of time with the intent of calming, reorienting, or disciplining a child.  Why am I asking if you (as an adult) have had a time-out lately? Consider your current need for quiet and refreshment for your soul. Do…

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    More Than Just a Day for Chocolate

    Do you happily celebrate Valentine’s Day or bitterly avoid it? In years past I revolted against this “Day of Love.” The only benefit in my opinion was the half-priced chocolate offered the following day. You might have mixed emotions the same as mine. But this year I propose a solution to transform this “Hallmark holiday” from one of stress and sadness to fellowship and friendship: Celebrate like a Mexican. Mexicans see February 14 as El día del amor y la amistad (The Day of Love and Friendship) and share cards and small gifts with close friends, family, and coworkers. Yes, much of the United States’ Valentine’s Day marketing has made…

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    Find Healing for Hurting Hearts

    What’s on your New Year’s Resolution list? If your list is a lot like mine, it includes returning to pre-holiday healthier eating habits and making time for exercise several times a week. Those are common resolutions regarding physical fitness. Not so common are resolutions pertaining to our emotional fitness. But I have a book recommendation that might help with your 2020 emotional goals: Healing Every Day: A 90-Day Devotional Journey by Mary DeMuth.

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    The Gift of “God With Us”

    A wailing scream pierces the air. The new mother cries tears of sheer exhaustion and joy. The father stands speechless, astounded, holding a wriggly bundle in his arms. Mom and dad lock eyes and they silently ask each other, “What should we name him?” (Para español, lea abajo.) A name means something. Depending on the culture, a name implies family respect, honor, and tradition. In the Latino culture, for example, parents typically name their firstborn child after the father or mother. If the father is Luis, the baby boy is Luis. If the mother is Elizabeth, the baby girl is Elizabeth. In doing so, the parents preserve their family legacy.…