Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker: A Resurgence in Jobs That Connect

Handmade soaps. Artisan ginger ale. Bottled perfumes. Small-batch roasted coffee. Custom meats.  Craft breweries. If you are noticing resurgence in goods and services produced by people using traditional artisan skills, you’re not alone. There is a growing respect and deep interest in the do-it-yourself trades. It’s no longer a surprise to find people actually making a living as a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker. These kinds of trades used to be relegated to craft fairs and farmer’s markets. Now I’m… Read more

Respond first. Think later. This is how we will change the world.

Last week we remembered the horrors of 9/11. This is an anniversary that we should never forget, that we wish had never happened. What a different world we live in. Think of all the young people who have never lived in a world that isn’t reminded of terror every single day. They have never met grandma at the doors of the airport gate as she left her airplane. They have never lived in a world where simple backpacks can’t be taken… Read more

What these seven-year olds taught me about moving beyond sympathy

Earlier this week I posted some reflections on “thoughts and prayers.” I’m not against either, but I think we add another word, “Do.” I just read about three classmates in Northern Ohio who wanted to find a way to help the Hurricane victims. At first, according to their teacher Stephenie Skolosh, they asked the obvious questions. “What can we do? We’re little. And we’re here, far away from them.” Stephanie said she “talked about praying for them.” But the St…. Read more

Thoughts and Prayers Are Great {But We’re Called to Something Much, Much More}  

I’m at the point in my life where I’m no longer satisfied with just Thoughts and Prayers. Read more

I never really knew about God’s grace (until I lived it)

Grace. You’ve heard the word thrown around in sermons, songs and prayers, but do you really really know it? I contend that you’ll never understand it until you live it. The two of them stood swaying on the bus. I was lucky enough to hold a seat so I wouldn’t be thrown about by the potholes that the driver went out of his way to hit. I couldn’t help overhearing their conversation as I tried to look away. One of the men… Read more

Houston — The Water is Wide, but the Faith is Deeper

The air is swampy down here. There’s a musty smell everywhere you go. The only thing that smells good is the occasional front yard bonfire as people incinerate their household items before the mold rots them. Everything else is on the curb, stacked high. A solidarity of devastation, no home is spared. It’s kind of sad to see people’s possessions like this, a premature disposal of a lifetime of accumulation. Maybe things they couldn’t sell in the last garage sale… Read more

Try this: Shock the world with kindness

I went to the downtown Post Office today to mail out my broken laptop. That’s another story for another time. Encased in bubble wrap and tape and a flat-rate box I  was primed and ready to use the automated machine and leave. Two minutes tops was my goal. I thought about parking and dashing in, skipping the ceremonial dropping of the coins in the parking meter. But I’ve learned a lesson about the meters that ring the office long ago…. Read more

How to break the cycle of your family’s past

He was called a bastard son. It was outrageous really. His mother was just a young teen. The father was much older and there hadn’t been a marriage. The tongues wagged, clicking at the impropriety. And the angel story really was a stretch. The baby’s lineage wasn’t much better. It was filled with incredible scandal. Instead of a lush family tree, with lovely branches and perfect leaves, it was crooked. Go back a few generations and you’d find murder, adultery, debauchery… Read more

Every Day is a Blessing: Reflections on the death of a friend

My friend is gone. He left this world today. I need to talk about him, to tell his story. He has lifelong friends, people who were much closer to him. And yes, they are probably in better positions to give witness to his life. But I’m the writer and this is what I’m called to do. And for whatever reason, I was there at the end to tell the story. It was a long time coming. The bad cells inside… Read more

The worth of every human life

I’ve been selling some unique things on eBay recently. Some headlights from my son’s old car. Books I haven’t read. Coins from my great uncle. A watch from somewhere.  Memorabilia that I don’t want or need. I call most of it, “junk.”   And yet, I’m always amazed at the price people will pay. Is it really worth that much? I’m learning a principle in the auction world. The value of an item is never determined by the seller. It’s always determined by… Read more

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