Gold, silver, bronze and fourth

Q. What do these people have in common?Rares DumitrescuStepanka HIlgertovaRick Van der Ven     A. They are each Olympians, though their names may not be familiar to you unless you're a hard-core fencing,  kayak or archery fan. And each one placed fourth in an event in which they'd competed.A recent Chicago Trib article profiled another fourth place finisher, rower Sarah Zelenka, who called her fourth-place finish "a nightmare". Watching Jordyn … [Read more...]

Like Being At My Own Funeral, Kind Of

A few months ago, my sister told me she was making me something for my birthday. She does seem to enjoy handyman-type projects like replacing toilets, but I never figured her for a crafter. Her gift box arrived last week, and a CD and flash drive of this 5 minute, 29 second video was inside: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ext1fo4SAkM&feature=youtu.be She'd snagged pictures from my facebook account and combined them with some from her own photo albums. I cried like a baby at the effort she'd … [Read more...]

Piper, Israel and me

This week, Christianity Today's website featured the first round of volleys between David Brickner, the head of Jews for Jesus and John Piper, author and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. The question being debated is "Do Jews Have A Divine Right To Israel's Land?" Here is Brickner's post, here's Piper's response.The question is not merely an academic exercise in Biblical hermeneutics about modern Israel's divine right to exist. It also speaks to ethnic Israel's continued … [Read more...]

Short sale by the numbers

It is finished. Thanks be to God.The contracts have been inked, the checks exchanged. We have been released from ownership our Round Lake, IL townhome. We were underwater on the property, and after lots of anguish and consulting with all sorts of professionals (and a bunch of amateurs, who each had opinions to share with us), we decided to try listing the house as a short sale. Our realtor and lawyer both warned us that there were absolutely no guarantees that our bank would approve a short … [Read more...]

Shalom once again, Israel

Our fifth trip to Israel is nearly done, and it ended with perhaps the most Israeli experience of the journey: when we emerged from the Museum of the Jewish People on the campus of Tel Aviv University, our rental car with all of our luggage in the trunk had disappeared into thin air. There may be nothing more disorienting than standing on the sidewalk and trying to figure out how to say "Dude, where's my car?" in the native tongue.Through the kindness of strangers, none of whom appeared to be … [Read more...]

This isn’t ‘Jeopardy’, it’s Israel

Though I'm not a fan of the genre, the one TV game show I have enjoyed watching on occasion (usually in the company of a senior citizen) is 'Jeopardy'. Contestants whose brains were overstuffed warehouses of trivia about topics ranging from 18th Century European Composers to the Reptiles of South America. Debonair long-time host Alec Trebek's role is to give increasingly difficult answers in a particular category while three contestants vie to ask the right question.Part of our trip to … [Read more...]

A Different Kind Of Mother’s Day Prayer

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families..." (Ps. 68:5-6a) For every woman who will receive a crayoned card made of folded construction paper, a bouquet or a sweetly sentimental piece of jewelry this Sunday, there are many others who need a different kind of gift this Mother's Day. This prayer is for so many of us:O God, the commercials, cards and gifts of this Sunday are a reminder to honor the mothers in our lives. A day … [Read more...]