A legacy of love

My dad Harry Marks, circa mid-1950's or so, with his mom (my grandma), Leah Marks. She was generous and loved my sister and I with an intensity I understand now that I'm a grandma. The last time I saw her alive, she had taken a bus all over Peoria, IL in search of ingredients to make me strudel. She never learned to drive, but she wasn't going to let that stop her from searching out golden raisins for her oldest granddaughter's favorite treat.  My dad, with two of this three grandchildren. … [Read more...]

Forgive and surrender; forgive and remember

I hadn't seen her in about fifteen years, but last Saturday morning, we picked up right where we'd left off. Our family's departure from the church we'd both attended and our subsequent move to WI pushed our once-active friendship into a dormant state. I was so surprised to click on an e-mail from her a couple of months ago. "I found this old e-mail address from you and thought I'd try it," she'd written. I could hardly believe it when I saw her name - and, after a few e-mail exchanges updating … [Read more...]

No such thing as coincidence?

Has something like this ever happened to you?- My Bible reading plan just started me reading the Gospel of Mark.- They've just begun preaching through the Gospel of Mark at church.- I've just begun a freelance writing assignment that has me working through the Gospel of Mark. Some would dismiss this confluence of Scripture study focus in my life as a coincidence, but I think that by doing so, they silence the whisper of God. There's a materialistic, pragmatic way of thinking about these events … [Read more...]

One rich day

We've been to Israel three times in the last two years. Bill has been there because he's serving a three-year term on the board of the Caspari Center located in Jerusalem. And I have been there because there's no way that I'd miss going to the Promised Land.While Bill's been in his meetings, I've put together my own freelance small serving opportunities, prayed at a couple of prayer ministries based in Jerusalem, visited with a friend who lives in the country, and done a lot of solo wandering … [Read more...]

Tidbits from yesterday’s journey

Yes, Israel was amazing. And yes, I'll have more to share about this trip in weeks to come. But after yesterday's grueling trip back to Chicago, all I have to offer you today are some random observations penned while sitting in Terminal 3 at Heathrow:(1) Anyone who complains about O'Hare has never been to Heathrow.(2) European news channels (France24 and BBC) appear to use news stories as filler between the really important story - the upcoming World Cup competition.(3) No matter how savvy you … [Read more...]

Ben and Sarah’s wedding

Ben and his best man Jacob waiting at the altar.Rachel escorting her ringbearer sons.Do you? I do!Famile Van Loon, May 22, 2010 versionWe're so grateful for Sarah - she's a gift to Ben!Jacob sandwiched between Tom and Bubba, some friends from Boston. It was a blessed, beautiful day - and I am grateful that my children, grandchildren, sister and life-long friends Scott and Karen were there to share it. … [Read more...]

Book review: An Army Of Ordinary People

Go.Be. Christ's.Church. Those four words sum up Felicity Dale's An Army Of Ordinary People: Stories Of Real-Life Men And Women Simply Being The Church (Tyndale/Barna, 2010). Dale and her husband have been involved in the simple church/house church movement for many years, planting organic faith gatherings in neighborhoods and workplaces in the U.S. and U.K., then coaching people hungry to be the church without the institutional constrictions of "legacy churches", as Dale calls institutional, … [Read more...]