Letters to the Three Moms in my life: I can’t thank you enough

In honor of mother's day, I wanted to write some notes to each of the three moms in my life.  Of course, none of them were or are, perfect.  But I'm fortunate, in that each of them are easy to honor.   My mother-in-law is equally wonderful, but this blog's already too long to add a fourth mom, so I'll just say thanks here.  In the comments feel free to share how your mom has been a gift to you.To my mom by adoption:  Happy Mothers day to the one who was, in nearly every sense of the wo … [Read more...]

The Piano – and the painful goodness of letting go

I didn't know on Saturday night that they'd be the last notes I'd play on it.  I sat down a few minutes before a woman came in response to our Craig's list ad and touched the keys with a tune I made up on the fly.  It's what I do best with pianos.  Those pesky notes from Bach or Mozart have always felt too confining for me.  So I simply sit and play, letting the music well up from my soul and pour out over the keys.  I've done that multiple hundreds of times on this piano.  It's been a friend.  L … [Read more...]

Focus on the Dysfunctional Family

I love my friend, Larry Shallenberger's paragraph in this post, about the danger of "Christian Church Culture".  He likens God's transforming process to that of a mechanic restoring an old motorcycle, believing that the old rusted bike has its best years ahead of it.  We religious people, meanwhile, tend to handle each other like airport luggage handlers. This leads to the false belief that its better to lower our heads and fit in.Lower our heads and fit in. Covertly demand that, as a p … [Read more...]

Love Ingredients: Truth, Grace, Proportion

"full of grace and truth" John 1:14"Who can pull that off?" is the question I ask with all the urgency I can muster because I'm more convinced than ever that this is perhaps the only possible solid foundation upon which genuine intimacy can be built.  Look at any relationship where love continues to ripen and deepen, year after year, and you'll find that the couple has managed to express both truth and grace.  But there's more.  The couple has also found a way express these elements at the r … [Read more...]

All Poverty is Relational: What does that mean?

I'm riding my bike to work on a frosty morning this winter when I encounter a couple, dressed in poverty, arguing intensely on a street corner.  Their words do violence to each other until he finally storms away, hurt and raging, while she's left crying, waiting for the light to the change.  Both of them are dressed poorly; tattered sweatshirts (hood up on this cold morning), inadequate shoes, denim.  They have bags, small backpacks.As we go our different ways, I ponder the reality that my ch … [Read more...]

Gratitude: The ‘on ramp’ to a better story & better world

God knows there are plenty of problems and challenges, both around us in our own homes.  It's easy focus there, fighting our battles, or looking on in despair, anger, or cynicism as others, who are supposed to be fighting battles for us, don't.  The super committee isn't so super after all.  A nuclear Iran and a sluggish economy threaten;  An Arab spring appears to be settling in for a long Arab winter of discontent; A Euro whose future is uncertain creates anxiety.  And all the while, back in ou … [Read more...]

Chronos Peace University….

By now, many of us have heard of Dave Ramsey, and Financial Peace University.  It's a great program, as I share in this video.  The essence of Ramsey's plan, though, is ridiculously simple: don't spend what you don't have.  It all makes sense, of course, and yet there's something in us that makes us believe, sometimes, that life will better if we buy this or that - and suddenly we find ourselves harried and stressed because we've over-reached.Fine.  Meanwhile, there's another problem many of … [Read more...]

Cultivating enjoyment…

As we enter September, and schedules change, I offer a few words about being intentional in our cultivation of that which will nourish.  Enjoy. It happened between graduating from high school and starting college.  I was working at a camp and the staff went out one night for pizza.  It was one of the those places that hide all the ingredients under the cheese.  When the pizza came, I took a big, unexamined bite."Wow!  That's tremendous!  What's on this pizza?""Pepperoni, Sausage, and mushro … [Read more...]