• Ray getting his PICC line
    Engage

    Back Infections and Heart Infections

    My husband Ray knew something was wrong as soon as he got out of bed. His lower back, where he’d had back surgery six weeks before, was wet. His t-shirt was wet. The sheet was wet. His fingers glistening with a strange wetness from reaching back to investigate, he asked me to check what was going on. I saw a rivulet of fluid pouring out of the top of his surgical incision. Something was really, really wrong. As I gently pressed the skin around the incision, pus kept flowing out. He had a serious infection under the incision. It had been hidden, but it literally rose to the surface of…

  • Engage

    Christian 12-Step: A Path to Maturity

    This week I’m happy to have as my guest columnist Patrice Oakley, who describes herself as “a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and a Spiritual Formation leader.” Next month she graduates with her Master of Arts in Christian Education (MACE) degree from Dallas Theological Seminary:   I first became attracted to Christian 12-step recovery, a grace-based, scripturally grounded ministry, because of a painful past—my family’s legacy of alcoholism. My mother lived disconnected, mentally ill; and my alcoholic father worked excessively. Neither knew Jesus. Consequently, I developed a “heart disease.” I’ve struggled with the hole in my heart—not physical, but an emotional and spiritual vacuum.  The Holy Spirit drew me to…

  • Engage

    “Christian Ethics Stuff” and the Death of Mother-Daughter Movie Icons

    When we walked in the door from watching the new Rogue One Star Wars movie last week we heard the sad news: Distraught over her daughter, Carrie Fisher’s  death, Debbie Reynolds had just died of a stroke.   (Slight spoiler alert) We had just watched a digitally young Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia in the final scene of Rogue One. One of the rebels hands her electronic intelligence delivered at the cost of many lives. When he asked what she’s been given, she lights up a smile and answers, “Hope.”   But in a tragic irony, sixty-year old Fisher died of cardiac arrest in the wake of years of the kind of…

  • Impact

    23 Books Reviewed in 23 Minutes

    “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. “A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition” – Henry Miller. Here is my exhaustive review of all but one of the books I read in 2014. Skim the list to see if something piques your interest. Peruse as you please. Skip what does not interest you. For my reading list reviews for the past few years click on any of the following: 2011, 2012, or 2013. Now here we go, set your timer to 23 minutes. Go!   1. “Save Me From Myself” subtitled “How I found God, quit…

  • Engage

    Scrambled Souls and SILENCE – An Accessible Addiction

    Eleven years ago this fall I was invited to go on a “silent retreat”, the kind where you literally do not speak during the time period for silence. This particular one was for 36 hours. Some of my friends were incredulous. “How can a group of women be silent for that long, for any amount of time?” One of my relatives emailed me and asked, “Just what does one do on a silent retreat, like – what’s the purpose?” One colleague even ventured to look at me as if to say, “YOU, silent?” Until this first silent retreat I had not experienced the phenomenon of stopping to enter into silence…

  • Engage

    The Happiest Place on Earth?

    Disneyland has long positioned itself as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” And Disney goes to great lengths to maintain that illusion. Their parks are as close to spotless as you can get; you never see wrappers, gum or spilled popcorn on the ground, since they get swept up within a minute of hitting the pavement by an army of “cast members,” from custodians to ride workers, who are devoted to maintaining the fantasy. Every Disney park cast member is trained to be assertively friendly in making things right and keeping people happy. When a friend’s child lost the ice cream scoop from his cone, within moments a Disney person replaced…