Why I Never Wanted Pets but Got One Anyway

Before Christmas, we got our first dog. A dog that will live 14 years when we’ll have kids home for 3 ½ more years. I can’t tell you how many people tell me we’re crazy. I think we’re crazy. It’s been a moment of parental and marital madness.I am not a pet lover.   Admitting that feels almost as un-American as saying I don’t love apple pie. But I don’t prefer cooked fruits, I don’t prefer animal smells, and I’m allergic.I didn’t grow up with real pets even though Mama had multiple pets gr … [Read more...]

Stubborn Releasing: Walking with My Kid through the Desert

My daughter’s been going through terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days.Something I can’t write about because there are confidences involved and as Aslan would say, “other people’s stories” that can’t be revealed. Suffice it to say that she showed great courage, much more courage than I ever showed at her age, and now pays the price almost every day.Whew.It’s so much harder to walk with a child suffering than it is to walk through my own wilderness.I spent last week at my … [Read more...]

Calling Dylan O’Brien

I just sent my very first virgin tweet to a teeny-bopper heart throb.Dylan O'Brien--I'm trying to contact you!Who's Dylan O'Brien you may ask?  Good question, because until 2 days ago, I didn't know either.  I've since learned he's the star of Teen Wolf (a TV program?) and Maze Runner, the new movie I haven't watched yet because I didn't love the books.Most importantly, my friend Julie's daughter, Selena, LOVES him.  As you may have read, Julie died 2 months ago.  And on Tuesday, Sel … [Read more...]

Too Sad to Blog

When I train folks in gospel-centered public speaking, I emphasize that we’ve got to identify what’s good news. After all, Jesus started his ministry by proclaiming good news—especially to the poor. That’s what gospel means—good news. When we honk out bad news—no wonder no one’s listening.I don’t hold to that rule 100% in blogging, but I do 95% of the time— because if I can’t identify good news, or at least humor, why add more drag to the planet?So I’ve blogged pretty steadily the pas … [Read more...]

Who Needs God?

“Wow, God actually has to show up for this to work,” I kept thinking as I began the first leg of spiritual direction training.A ministry dirty secret is how hard you can work for the Kingdom of God without actually needing God at all.  I can cook for crowds.  I can listen kindly.  I can provide wise counsel.  I can work with leadership teams and supervise staff and even teach the Bible without particularly needing God to show up.Maybe because I’m always veering on the edge of skepticism m … [Read more...]

Cramming Spirituality

My most fit friend used to constantly wonder, “There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t exercise.  So why don’t I have a daily quiet time with God?”Invariably, every time I’d think, “Boy, I can’t do either!”You know how a lot of people say they’re spiritual but not religious?  Unfortunately, I’m neither very religious nor very spiritual.  Yet I’ve been in ministry for 23 years and a follower of Jesus since age 3.Let me clarify.  Although others probably view me as both religious a … [Read more...]

Getting My Kids to Get a Job!

Early sophomore year of high school, Mama told me I should deliver papers for the Honolulu Star Bulletin.  She had done the research.  The job would not only pay a couple hundred dollars a month but because we lived in the steep parts of Manoa Valley where the only reasonable way to deliver 242 papers/day was to drive, it also paid an $80 car stipend.I balked—delivering papers every afternoon by 5 p.m. meant no after school extra-curricular activities and taking loser in-school P.E. instead o … [Read more...]

Battling Starbucks

For someone who can’t drink caffeine I’m an exceptional Starbucks fan.  Caffeinated coffee gives me the jitters and slight nausea.  Nevertheless, I’ve loved Starbucks ever since Scott bought me an iced mocha early in our marriage.When not on sabbatical as I am now, I meet students, faculty and fellow InterVarsity staff in Starbucks.  My writing group met at Starbucks every Wednesday for years.  I developed an addiction to decaf peppermint mochas a decade ago, and as pre-diabetes has developed … [Read more...]