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Showing posts from 2013


During advent, I've been reading through O Come, All Ye Faithful , a book highlighting many traditional Christmas carols. Reading the carols rather than singing them helps me focus on the words and intent of the songs. For example, O Little Town of Bethlehem  includes the phrase, "While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond'ring love." I missed the meaning of that phrase previously. What must that have been like for the angels? Had God revealed to them what was to come? Rather, were they watching with eager anticipation to understand how Christ's time on earth would unfold? In Hark the Herald Angels Sing , one of the authors describes the scene as "a full military exercise, not a few little kids skipping around on a stage with fluffy robes, coat-hanger wings, and tilting halos" (Tada, MacArthur, Wolgemuth, and Wolgemuth, 91). Herald angels are "a perfect symbol of might and power" (ibid, 91). These great creatures bore witness to

recommended recipes

The last Saturday in September, I ventured to the farmer's market with Miriam. John had to go into work since it was fiscal year-end. His colleague joked that I'd go to the market and return with a car-load of goods. He was partially correct -- I ordered a quarter cow. That's 1/4 of a cow or about 100 lbs of grass-fed beef. Fast-forward to yesterday. We invited friends over for dinner, presenting the perfect opportunity to cook a 4.5 pound chuck roast. After much searching, I came across this SUPER easy and REALLY delicious roast recipe I'm linking to here . It claims to be the Perfect Pot Roast and I won't argue. I cooked our 4.5 pound roast for 4-1/4 hours; I didn't use red wine but just canned beef stock; I did add liberal amounts of fresh rosemary and thyme. I've labored over roasts before and this one was so simple I will probably use it again (that's saying a lot because I don't like repeating recipes). Our guests brought a fun kiwi spi

think with your heart

Permit me a "Mom rant." I know, I know.  Facebook is filled with these rants.  But hang in here with me until the end and perhaps this will all strike a chord or maybe a nerve. I was working out at the Fitness Center on base today.  Usually I go alone while John watches Miriam.  Today I had the little one along to cheer me on.   Aside: she was a champion cheerleader as I deadlifted!  As I packed up to leave the room, a couple Fitness Center employees approached me and told me children must be in the kid pen while I'm working out.  Fair enough.  Though Miriam was strapped in her car seat, pleasant the entire time,  getting in no one's way, and not at risk of falling under any one's weights, rules are rules. I could relate since I talked with a woman after her child ran near me as I did push presses. Talk about giving me a heart attack! But back to today. After lifting, I proceeded to the spinning room. I wanted to check out a recorded spin class we're doin

Richie Ray

John, Miriam, and I were out to brunch last Sunday.  We happened upon a diner run by Koreans that we'd formerly thought was shut down.  (They serve a kimchi omelette we'll have to return someday to try.)  The table of octogenarians dining next to us loved Miriam as she beamed her precious smile at them.  We exchanged pleasantries throughout the meal then waved goodbye as they left. We waited for our check and, finally, the server approached and said, "That man paid your entire bill . . . you know him, right?"  We responded, "Uh, no.  We've never met him before."  We waved another goodbye out the window as Richie Ray and his Sunday brunch crew drove away. "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." ~Tim Keller's study on Galatians

Some thoughts on work

In a continuation of  my recent counseling sessions, I write here about work. First off, it should be recognized that I, all too easily, idolize work.  It becomes a measuring stick by which I judge my worth.  As a Christian, I know my worth comes from Christ alone, not from work.  And yet the human side of me tends toward this temptation.  I'm learning to guard against it. Before departing St. Louis, the board at Arch Grants requested my resignation.  I refused since I had performed admirably and had received no prior warnings.  The board threatened to withhold severance unless I resigned.  I held my ground.  I received a severance check with a termination letter a few days later. Referring back to my idolatry of work, such an immediate, harsh, and cruel termination of my role as Executive Director of Arch Grants left me reeling.  I questioned if I should have led the organization differently.  I grieved over the very public and underhanded manner in which the board maligned my

Postscript to my last blog

Oh, how I loathe pop psychology.  For example, How to Survive the Loss of a Love  today queried, "If you want to fall in love with someone, how about trying yourself" (Bloomfield et al, 108). Alternatively, my study of Galatians led me to this passage: "It is often said today, in circles which blend popular psychology with Christianity, that we must love ourselves before we can be set free to love others . . . But no realistic human beings find it easy to love or forgive themselves, and hence their self-acceptance must be grounded in their awareness that God accepts them in Christ" (Lovelace, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life ). In case you were wondering, I don't recommend How to Survive the Loss of a Love .

How does one mourn the loss of one's brother?

God weeps with us so that we may one day laugh with him. J ΓΌ rgen Moltmann I can't bring myself to say, "Tim died."  He didn't die; he merely passed onto eternal life where he's more alive than I.  So I say, "Tim passed."  Then I don't get weird looks as though I've not accepted Tim's departure from earth.  I don't get into a lengthy theological discussion unless the conversation's headed that direction and I honor Tim's continued existence. Immediately following Tim's passing, the question reverberating around my head was, "how does one mourn the loss of one's brother?"  Mourning is a uniquely personal experience.  Abolish rules and social constraints.  I break down in tears when I need to, without apologies.  At first, I cried about all the things Tim would miss such as the birth and fathering of his child.  But when I considered all the things Tim might be doing now, such as training in heaven to b

Lessons from Miriam

How can a seven week old, like Miriam, teach a 32 year old, like me? In, oh, so many ways! All those things the experienced parents told me about are true.  Of course, my daughter's beautiful and delightful and perfect.  I can stare at her for extended periods of time and be content simply with her lying on top of me as she sleeps.  Miriam wakes once or twice a night, gets fussy only when I consume too much chocolate or in the evenings when over-stimulation from the day catches up with her, and has truly rockstar-worthy hair.  She's a gift.  As a wise second-time parent advised, I realize she's  the gifted one and not I because of how easily she eats and sleeps.  I give thanks now since any future children may not prove so easy. In addition to all the things they told me, there are a few tips I've picked up over the past six weeks. If someone offers me a place to nurse in private, I take it.  Once, I tried nursing in the middle of a party.  The minute I covered

Heads Up

I've had many competing strains of thought and wonderings wandering through my mind over the past many months.  I'm looking forward to writing a series of essays here about each of them, partly to help clear my mind of the things that keep me up at night and partly to provide some insight into what's been going on in life.  Oh, yeah, and partly to help in processing and healing. In no specific order, here's a preview of some upcoming topics: Things I've learned through having a baby of my own Grief observed Pointers on building a startup community Holding roles and titles open-handedly, aka Loose robes

TED Talks

"[Courageous people are people who] are willing to let go of whom they thought they should be in order to be whom they actually are." ~ Brene Brown "Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage." ~ Brene Brown

food for thought

Actually reading The Economist  for THIS week (if you know me, I tend to get WAY behind on my Economist  reading), I came across a couple articles that are worth sharing: The death of a country : Regarding Syria, this article raises too many questions to cover here but I'll whet your appetite so you click through to read for yourself.  The author calls President Obama and America to take action in Syria.  The author highlight that America is the world's super power.  True?  Well, it's our reputation, at the very least, and as such, the author proffers, we have a responsibility to engage and to engage NOW.  The details of the conflict are sundry and confusing.  This article helps explain the chaos, even if it only raises more questions than it answers. The great experiment : This one may just cause you to rethink your stance on legalization of elicit drugs.  And if you think marijuana's one thing but other elicit drugs are an entirely separate issue, have a read.  Th

What's It All About, Anyway?

"God is not working for our temporal personal happiness.  He is not working so that we would feel satisfied and complete or that we would have a positive self-image or a comfortable lifestyle.  No, he is working to make us lights that shine in darkness, so that people would see our good works and give him glory."  ~Paul David Trip, War of Words

Announcing . . .

I know, it's been awhile.  So here I am, last night in CT with the fam for the holidays, finally posting an update with a few photos for good measure.  Now, where to begin? Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh At the end of September, John and I headed to India.  We spent a week in Delhi with a day trip to the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort up the river from the Taj, and Fatehpur Sikri which was the abode of the grandfather of the man that built the Taj Mahal.  It was just what John expected in a visit to India -- so many colors, sights, sounds, and smells.  We also visited lots of old friends and spent a leisurely Sunday as I used to: going to church then having lunch with the Pillai family.  We stayed with the Pillai family in Gurgaon and enjoyed wonderful times of visiting and hearing about their recent trip to visit relatives in Kerala. On day hike above Dhel Meadow Evening in Dhel Meadow Following a frenetic time in Delhi, we escaped to the Great Himalayan National