• Speaking at Commencement
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    The Commencement Address I Actually Got to Give

    In 2014, I wrote a blog post The Commencement Address I’ll Never Get to Give. Then I was deeply honored to be asked to address the eight graduating seniors of the Richardson Home School Association, where my husband and I have been teaching. He’s the high school science teacher and I am his admin, I teach cursive handwriting to younger kids, and together we teach “Building Confident Christians,” a faith-building year of worldview and apologetics. I had already written my address as a blog post, but I tweaked it some, coming in at a very-short-for-me nine minutes (because ain’t nobody goes to graduation for the commencement address, right?): We’ve taught…

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    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,…

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    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,…

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    The Thanks Giving Key

    A few years ago I was invited to go on an overseas mission trip. This journey was to a country on the other side of the world with a foreign culture and language, and would take almost 24 hours to get there. No doubt many of you readers have done the same, and know the planning, anticipation and excitement of such a trip. Still, it’s not unusual to have a little nagging insecurity regarding the unknowns, and that was how I was feeling. I would be traveling alone on a long leg of the trip, navigating an unfamiliar airport with a tight connection and felt a little uneasy about it.…

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    Practicing Gratitude—A Challenge

    A recent leadership conference I attended focused on gratitude. The Chief Executive Officer of the company thought correction in how some members were running their businesses was needed, and therefore spent at least twenty to thirty minutes discussing: How to get gratitude, How to practice it, and How to extend it.  When a CEO of a multi-million dollar company spends that amount of time on any subject, it’s evident that it’s important and is an issue in today’s world, or in that company at least. As it turns out, expressing gratitude (i.e. giving thanks) was an issue in the ancient world, too. The Psalmist and the Apostle Paul spent considerable…

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    Thanksgiving: How the Practice of Gratitude leads to the Presence of Contentment

    “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Eph 4:11-12). I used to read those verses and think, “Good for you, Paul…I wish.” Contentment and I have a troubled history. Many reasons: chronic illness, physical limitations, and especially the propensity to live in the future ( I think I will be content when I get married…have a baby…accomplish this career or ministry vision…) As a future oriented person who has always lived with chronic, holy frustration, reading Ann Voskamp's book, 1000 Gifts seven years ago changed me. Her close-to-the-heart chronicle of her journey into thanksgiving and…

  • Sue in a hospital bed
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    Lessons From a Hospital Bed

    In the last several months, both of my severely arthritic hips were replaced. In addition to the wonderful blessing that I am out of pain, the surgeries and recoveries were full of lessons pointing me to spiritual truths I am so very thankful for: For a long time, I needed help getting in and out of my car. To be blunt, it was always noisy with involuntary gasps and screams of pain. And while my family and friends were so very glad to be of assistance, it was hard on them to witness me hurting so badly. Now that the pain is behind me, I keep hearing comments like, “Wow!…

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    Life Interrupted: Lessons from a Teen Pregnancy

    Mary’s story has always fascinated me, but never more-so than a few years ago in a darkened theater. I went to the movies with a friend, and we watched as a young woman portrayed the confused teen who found favor with God. My own life had been freshly interrupted by God. Mary’s confusion echoed my heart’s response. The friend sitting next to me gasped as she saw Mary’s surrender: “Oh God. I can’t believe she said yes.” That’s the rub. A young Jewish girl agreed to have her life forever altered to be part of God’s purposed story. The account we read in Luke is short and yet so much…

  • Heartprints

    TAKING TIME TO WORSHIP

    How is it possible that the day of the year set aside as a Holy Day to celebrate the greatest gift ever given usually finds us exhausted, stressed, and even at times depressed? Our children wake up all excited in anticipation of presents that in the end may or may not be what they expected. Spirits tend to dwindle as we move through the day ending up tired, over sugared, and overwhelmed ready to fall into bed exhausted.   We all have a desire to focus on the Lord. As believers. we usually plan to do our best to make the season one that is about worship and gratitude. Honestly, how…

  • Keeping a Gratitude Journal
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    Keeping A Gratitude Journal

    Some years ago Dr. Billy Graham was a guest on Oprah. I will never forget his answer to her question, “What are you most thankful for?” He said, “Salvation given to us in Jesus Christ . . . and the way you have made people all over this country aware of the power of being grateful.” I loved that he took advantage of the platform to share the core of the gospel message, but also that he honored Oprah for making a difference in the culture by stressing gratitude the way she has. Millions of people have discovered the power of keeping a gratitude journal because of Oprah’s testimony of…