• Engage

    Disabled Persons Bring Insights for Healthy Relationships

    This summer I had the privilege of being a counselor at a camp for disabled persons. The counselors and campers enjoyed a week of swimming, horseback riding, fishing, bowling, paddle boats, crafts, Bible lessons, and worship. In the midst of the earthly activities, heavenly insights for healthy relationships with God and others emerged. I was blessed to be 24/7 with a blind person for the week. During the week, I noticed aspects of a healthy relationship with God. I learned quickly to go at the speed that she could walk at. Adjusting my speed to her reminded me of how God meets us where we are at. He knows our…

  • Engage

    Benefits of Being Outdoors

    Backpacking in the backcountry for 10 days in July left me with a new appreciation for the outdoors. I observed many parallels to life on my trek. In addition, watching teenage boys adapt to the backcountry left me with an awareness of the benefits of youth being outdoors. When I returned home, I found articles that articulated the benefits of being outside that I had observed. Various benefits arise from being outdoors. Claire McCarthy[1] lists the following as benefits: appreciation of nature, vitamin D from sunshine, exercise from active play, opportunity to take risk, socialization in unorganized atmosphere, and development of executive functions (skills that help us multitask, plan, troubleshoot,…

  • Engage

    Autonomy Gone Amuck

    autonomy (ô-tŏn’ə-mē) n., 1. Quality or state of being self-governed 2. Self-directing freedom and especially moral independence The first definition seems to be in line with biblical principles (self-controlled and responsible). However, the second definition seems to be how our culture defines autonomy. The culture’s definition echoes the repeated phrase in Judges, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jud 21:25). The book of Judges displays the chaotic and evil outcome of everyone doing right in their own eyes…autonomy gone amuck!     Several contemporary thinkers aid in discerning the issues involving autonomy. Philip Rieff(1922-2006) wrote of the triumph of the therapeutic self which is defined as when “the…

  • Engage

    The Search for Joy

    Different foci on living have attracted mankind’s (man’s) attention over the years. Political, religious, and economical perspectives have all taken a turn in being primary for man. The political man emphasized ruling, the religious man emphasized religion, and the economic man emphasized status, wealth, and success. However, in recent decades, the psychological man seems to dominate the perspective of the Western society. Part of the psychological perspective includes self-interest and pursuit of happiness. Man chases after what will make him happy. The world’s search for happiness includes possessions, honor, and wealth which according to Ecclesiastes 6:2 is a gift from God. Man can easily exceed the just, usual, and fond…

  • Tongue
    Engage

    What our Tongues Reveal

    Looking at the surface of our tongue can reveal clues to our physical health.[1] Color, texture, bumps, or spots can all be indicators of health issues. But listening to the words from our tongue can reveal our spiritual health. Slandering, boasting, flattering, and complaining are indicators of spiritual issues. You may feel like you have a tight rein on your tongue in public. But what about in private? What about in your thoughts? Maybe it is just certain people that you find your words/thoughts are not gracious. Our words/thoughts reveal what is going on in our hearts which can either bring life or death to their recipients (Prov 18:21).  Let’s…

  • Intergenerational Women
    Engage

    Aspects of Aging with Grace

    Snarky. Snarky. Snarky. I heard this word from different sources recently. I was not familiar with the definition of this word, but I did not like how I identified with the context in which the word was used. Snarky is an adjective describing someone who is subject to whims, ill-temper, crankiness as well as given over to curt irritable speech. Ouch! I was convicted of having some snarky thoughts and words. As with most sins, this one is subtle and limited. I realized I was on the brink of joining a club I did not want to be a member of—the Domineering Old Ladies Club (DOLC).[1] This club’s members think…

  • Engage

    Hearing Well and Being Heard Well

    Everyone wants to be heard well, but are we as willing to hear others well? In order to understand ourselves and others, different ways to categorize people have emerged over the years such as Myers & Briggs, DISC, and Enneagram. I recently read about another way to categorize people in a book dealing with how we communicate, 5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead.[1] The book describes 5 different voices with which people communicate—the Pioneer, Creative, Connector, Guardian, and Nurturer. Each voice (think communication style when I use the word voice) has positive inclinations and negative tendencies. In analyzing the book through a biblical worldview, I discovered…

  • Engage

    Thin Places: An Ancient Phrase with Biblical Roots and Contemporary Fruit

    Over the past several years, I have been intrigued by the phrase thin places. I spent some time trying to understand this phrase and concluded it is an ancient phrase with biblical roots and contemporary fruit. Thin places are where heaven comes close to earth. The phrase has been around for centuries made popular by Celts who associated the phrase with a location and by Celtic Christians who associated the phrase with the infusion of the Divine presence.[1] Today people who consider themselves spiritual view certain monuments, ruins, and landscapes as locations for special encounters where heaven seems to touch earth…thin places. The thin places concept stirs up many biblical…

  • Engage

    Do You Box Up Your Thanksgiving?

    This week I boxed up all our Thanksgiving decorations to sit in the closet for a year. The handwritten thanksgiving banner, the small jars with prompts to thank God, the cup with past subjects to be thankful for, and the abundantly full cornucopia. The Thanksgiving season is over for another year. Out of sight and out of mind. Or should it be? Various research has been conducted on the benefits of thankfulness (gratitude). Gratitude is associated with an increase in well-being, self-esteem, self-support; improvement in relationships, sleep, overall health; enhancement in positive emotions and optimism.[1]   One study revealed gratitude led to less depression, more happiness, release from toxic emotions,…

  • Engage

    What Anchored the Puritans in Hard Times

    As we finish out 2020, what should our response be to the circumstances we find ourselves in? Some of the circumstances are hard while others are pleasant. Whether we are in hard circumstances due to our choices, someone else’s choices, or results of a fallen people or creation, we can rest assured that God is sovereign over them all. No amount of whining, complaining, arguing, finger pointing, demanding, or sulking will bring us the joy or peace (well-being of soul) that we long for. The Puritans that helped found our country can give us some insights on how to respond to hard times.[1] The Puritans had a strong moral consciousness,…