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    Conflicting Marriage Messages

    Break out your boots–I might step on some toes here… When it comes to marriage, evangelicals hear conflicting messages. On the one hand, it’s “Husbands, man up! Lead your families.” On the other hand, we hear “Marriage is a partnership, designed for oneness.” Usually we hear these from the same speaker, in the same speech or sermon. Does anyone else see the dichotomy in that? Or is it just me? I know a lot of complementarians (the “equal but separate” group) and a lot of egalitarians (the equal in every way, doggonit, group). I don’t necessarily hold to either camp’s primary arguments–I’m somewhere in the middle. (And yes, I know…

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    A Mommy’s Summer

    The end of summer is rapidly approaching, to the dismay of some (children) and to the delight of others (parents?). As a stay at home mom, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of hanging out with my kids every day this summer. And this year, I can say that without sarcasm. What was different this time around? I could point to a number of fun experiences, such as my oldest son going to Pine Cove Christian Camp (where I worked during college). Thanks to some daily deal sites, we’ve visited some local museums, movies, and dining venues at discounted prices. With four kids in the house, these kinds of outings are rare,…

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    Parenting: One Long Goodbye

    Last weekend I left my oldest child, who is 10 years old, in the hands of a 21 year old college student and a bunch of his buddies out in the boonies of East Texas. I will return tomorrow to retrieve my boy after a week of missing him, counting the days with his younger siblings, and doing without his help, his smile, his constant thoughtful questions. This was the first time he’s been away from us for any length of time, but my risk was a calculated one. He’s having the time of his life at Pine Cove, a Christian camp for families and youth–where I worked during my…

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    A Royal Wedding

        I admit, I arose at 4 a.m. today to watch the wedding of William and Kate. For Americans who soundly rejected all the British tradition, hierarchy, and rule back in the 1770s, we sure do love a royal wedding these days. They do pomp and circumstance like no one else in the world. As in most weddings, however, the bride’s dress became an object of intense speculation and anticipation. Who would design it? What would it look like? How long will the train be? How will the bride pull it off? The new Duchess of Cambridge was simply radiant. Her dress was both elegant and modern, a beautiful combination…

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    A Yes Day From God

    The other day my 7-year-old asked, “Mom, when can we have a ‘yes’ day?” I smiled and, turning around to put something back in the refrigerator, rolled my eyes in amusement. Some things don’t merit an answer. By “yes day,” my son was referring to a day when Mom and Dad said “Yes” to every request made to them by the children. A day of joy and rapture for the kids, in their eyes. Can you imagine… “Mom, can I have some ice cream for breakfast?” “Yes” “Mom, can I have another bowl of ice cream?” “Yes” “Mom, is it ok if I don’t brush my teeth?” “Sure, honey.” “Can…

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    They Picked Me

    I recently read a book in which a young woman takes in her 10-year-old brother, Simon,  who was abandoned by their mother. She loves Simon fiercely. This young woman also has a son, and they all live with her grandmother, so their family is rather unorthodox. When circumstances threaten to take her away from their hometown, Simon becomes emotionally withdrawn, brooding, sad. The young mom realizes eventually that he thinks she will leave him with their grandmother because, of course, he’s not really her son. They all just pretend he is. That’s when she realizes the significance of words. She thought he knew how she felt about him. But it…

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    A Testimony of Lives

    Last fall, my husband and I were asked to lead the newly-formed Young Marrieds class at our church. Wait! What? When did we become old married folks? We are just a few short…uh, 14 years and 4 kids…past that time of life. OK, I guess we qualify. And it has been a fun adventure thus far. Our core group is starting to gel, we still have visitors–some of whom return!–and social events have helped build relationships. Recently I’ve also stepped into a more intimate mentoring type of relationship with one of the young women. I’ve often said that my testimony can be told by the names of the women,  sometimes…

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    All is Well

    A recent performance of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra reminded me that music holds incredible power. It can make or break a mood, it can inspire you to action, it can take your mind to another time and place. And the right music performed with passion and excellence can cause you to worship. I do believe I must make the DSO Christmas concert a regular part of my holiday tradition. The music included both popular, cheery holiday pieces as well as soaring, worshipful selections. I appreciated that Jesus’ birth was the primary theme as seen when, near the conclusion, this scripture passage was recited from the stage: Now in those days…

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    Give Thanks to the LORD

    It’s that time of year. So often we are thankful for special people in our lives, and perhaps for the good year we’ve experienced, or the good news we received. We look around at our lives and we are grateful. But do we sigh happily, acknowledging that we have much, or do we give thanks to the giver of all these good things? James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” The Bible makes it clear that every blessing is from God, that ALL good things come from Him. It also includes many prayers and stories that model…

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    Welcome to Life!

    My days are spent for the most part in mundane contentment–caring for my family, serving my church, keeping (most of) my deadlines, enjoying my friends, following my favorite sports teams. Life is good. The challenges God has sent or allowed to come my way have been difficult but not destructive, hard but not consuming. I have been blessed. But there are days, when I think of three suffering friends in particular and many world-wide tragedies in general, that I long for heaven. In the title track to his 2004 album You Make All Things New, Steven Curtis Chapman paints a picture of creation, and how God made everything, and it…