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    2018: The Year of Open Doors

    As we approach the mid-point of the year, most New Year’s resolutions are a faint and distant memory. High hopes for 2018 smacked into overloaded schedules and the realities of our daily To Do’s. Many of us are slogging into summer, yet we still muster hope for new opportunities and renewed purpose. What if the remainder of this year could become a doorway to new opportunities for each one of us? What if 2018 could still become “The Year of Open Doors” for you? The idea of a year possessing special meaning is nothing new. In Chinese culture, each year is themed on one of twelve zodiac animals, and many…

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    We Were All Foreigners

    Lady Liberty looked on as the immigration officer stamped my great-grandfather’s passport at Ellis Island. He had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands to New York. He ultimately settled in central Iowa. Other ancestors had immigrated before him and their reasons varied. Many simply wanted a better place to raise families. Others fled Europe to escape the atrocities of the Great World War. The Dutch immigrants built homes, planted crops, started bakeries, and established churches. Frugal, yet tidy, their gardens bloomed with tulips from their European homeland. But their lives were not without struggle or prejudice. Not everyone welcomed them. During the First World War (when the Allied…

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    Living Life with Others

      I recently attended a convention that inadvertently brought me much needed rest. For the first time—ever—I traveled away from my husband and kids for more than two days. I chose, over the course of my family’s life, not to stay away from them for over forty-eight hours at a time. Call me crazy, but I don’t regret it. Not. One. Bit.   It’s now almost twenty-six years since I looked into the eyes of my beloved and I answered with the words, “I do” until death do us part. Dinner, a movie, and a baby or three later, I found myself holding children. Good ones, too.    When the…

  • Heartprints

    Christian Parenting Mistakes- #1 Rules versus Relationship

    When teaching a group of missionaries’ children about our identity in Christ. I talked about God as our Father. I read to them the verses in Hebrews 12:5-11 NET Bible        "And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? ‘My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts. . .’ I talked about how God as creator is the expert about what is best for us. He says that for a parent to love their children well they must both train them in the ways…

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    The Velveteen Christian

    Our world is made up of a constant cacophony of voices. Truth, lies, myths, imaginations, and opinions fill our world with dissidence and confusion. We have information overload. It is difficult to discern who can be trusted because of the spin, the agendas, the omitted facts or the inserted insinuations that twist and distort. When I think of celebrating “Easter” once again after over fifty years, my heart is moved to get it right this time. To REALLY celebrate! As I have been praying about this, the Lord reminded me of my favorite story, the Velveteen Rabbit. I reflected on the conversation between Horse and Rabbit about becoming real. "What…

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    Teaching Children to Respect Another’s Culture: A Look into Islam

    Media coverage and conversations are everywhere about the President’s order to suspend visa entry into the U.S. from seven countries that have predominately Muslim populations. Our children are watching and listening. Unless we are proactive they will become afraid. Fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools for chaos. Throughout the Bible we are command to “fear not.”  Fear of the unknown drives many to act in unwise and unkind ways. Knowledge based on facts can help us trust God and free us to treat others with kindness. As parents/teachers/Christian leaders we need to be examples. Let's teach our children to respect all people. Let's alleviate fear by teaching respectfully about…

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    The Power of Many

    Our recent trip to the Dallas Arboretum reminded me of a great truth for us as Christians. The DeGolyer house, which sits among the beautiful grounds, was donated along with its accompanying land to the city years ago. For the Christmas season it is decorated and open for tours which highlight a Claus Collection of over 500 Santas. In fact there were so many that it was impossible to notice each one without spending hours there. Although the sheer number of Santas meant that the individual ones might be lost to the eye, the effect of groups of Santas around the entire house was gorgeous! They drew our eyes in every room because of…

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    Bloom in the Right Climate

    I grew up in Southeast Texas, where azaleas bloom in abundance. My husband has enjoyed only limited success with them here in North Texas because of harsher winters. The record snow and ice and consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures in 2011 resulted in near death to those in our yard. With sadness we replaced them with other plants that thrive here. If you find yourself struggling as a believer, consider whether you are in the right climate to bloom. Look at these factors for your present community (not just your church but your go-to friends): Do you feel free to share your sins and failures because you are given grace?…

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    When We Forget What Is True

    Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church, the phone rang. It was one of the women from the online support group I help moderate for those struggling with same-sex attraction. “Hi, Em.” “Sue, can you talk?” “I have two minutes.” “OK, then in two minutes tell me again why homosexuality is wrong? I’m at an AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] retreat and there are so many women here I could really connect with and they keep turning out to be gay. And the leader is wonderful, but she’s a former nun who is just so happy and content with her lesbian partner. I can’t remember why I’m supposed to be…

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    Seriously? Teach Toddlers about God?

    I f you were given your choice of classes to teach which age group would you choose? Our last Sunday before leaving for our mission work in Japan we asked for the two year old class. If you’re a missionary going for the purpose of raising money this might not be the best class to choose. If you’re going to make an impression though, this class may just be the most impressionable. We had a wonderful time telling them how God had asked our family to go to a country far away in Japan to teach the people about Jesus. We explained that we would be in the air traveling to…