Express yourself

Our youngest son Jacob, 23, regularly surprises us as he'll offhandedly recount a little snippet of a childhood memory. He remembers the shape of trees, the location of a neighborhood kid war, the texture of food on a plate. I've long since forgotten the details that are vivid brushstrokes inside of him.He's an artist now (illustration major at Northern Illinois University), and this deep gift of perception spills onto his canvases and sketch pads. Perception for him is more than just an … [Read more...]

Chicken soup season of life

About as long as I can remember, the fall, winter and spring seasons have been punctuated by fairly predictable bouts of bronchitis/sinus infections, usually at least two doozies a year. This week, like clockwork, a sinus infection ambushed me, and even the twice-a-day doses of unpleasant antibiotics didn't work much magic on the misery. When my kids were little and I was sick, I would run from activity to activity with them, only slowing down if I was running a fever - or, in one memorable … [Read more...]

The Big C Church

"They're all here to hear John Ortberg, don't you think?" a first-time attendee at this morning's Catalyst Lake County "Bonfire" gathering wondered aloud. Warm conversation filled the room as 400+ congregational leaders, community builders, non-profit heads and church champions representing over 75 churches from Lake County, IL (and beyond) spent the morning talking, laughing, weeping, schmoozing, worshiping and praying together. Hearing a well-known speaker like Ortberg was definitely a … [Read more...]

A mixed bag full of apricots and hammers

The recent news that a child's death has been blamed on the parents' adherence to the extreme fundy teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl made me think about the bombastic, insistent voices claiming to offer the perfect formula for not only raising children, but living a godly life. (As if a holy life was a recipe!) Voices of folks like Bill Gothard, Jonathan Lindvall and the Pearls dominated the home school movement in the `90's when we began home schooling. They had enough capital T Truth in … [Read more...]

Review: The Living Dialogue Series

When I first came to faith in Christ, Bible study tools were like comprehension drills: "For God so ____ the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)Though they were the spiritual equivalent of busywork, like those SRA boxes full of multi-colored reading comprehension cards tucked in the corners of 1960's elementary-school classrooms, the fill-in-the-blanks books did a good job helping to acquaint me with the … [Read more...]


My dear friend and long-time prayer partner Meg and I both kept expressing the same thought to one another: "I could really use a silent retreat." The thought of an uninterrupted block of time to simply listen to the Lord, to rest, to soak in the Word, to rest, to unplug, to rest..Well, you get the idea.We'd always imagined ministering together someday - she's a woman of the Word and an amazing contemplative musician. But last fall, we talked about simply wanted to steal away from our … [Read more...]

Review: One Million Arrows

Julie Ferwerda, the author of One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children To Change The World (Winepress Publishing, 2009), wants to inspire you to hit the parenting bulls' eye as you raise your children to be spiritual champions. Motivated by both the work and message of her mentor, M.A. Thomas, and her deep desire to see her teen children take ownership of their faith, Ferwerda pulled together a self-published book filled with stories designed to motivate parents to aim at a higher purpose in … [Read more...]