Category: Personal

The Apostle Paul’s Advice

The Apostle Paul’s Advice

There’s a section in Part 1 of Phoebe’s Journey when Nicholas, one of the primary characters, meets with Paul. There meeting takes place after the Apostle has been brought before the Roman authorities following a complaint by the Jewish synagogue leaders. Paul tells the young man that he ran into his father that day and chuckles as he says, “He was there under more fortunate circumstances than me, I’ll admit.”

Nicholas asks, “You can laugh at being hauled before the Proconsul?”

And the Apostle Paul responds, “I take it seriously, Nicholas. But I understand the leaders of the synagogue are threatened by the message I’m bringing on behalf of the Messiah. They are the ones to be worried. I’ve been in their place. Their world is changing and their hearts are not open yet. With the Lord’s help, I am determined to be patient with them.”

A wise reader sent this comment to me about this exchange between Paul and Nicholas:

It fits very well [when considering] all the changes that have happened in the church during our lifetime. The message of Romans is acceptance and that requires us to have time for our hearts to be opened as well as the hearts of the ones promoting the change. It gives both of us time to evaluate the change to see if it violates scripture or if He challenges our comfort zone.

I have thought about this all day long. When it comes to change–which is rarely easy–how often have we witnessed change agents overstep their bounds in their zeal to bring that change about? And, on the other hand, how often do we witness those who are change-averse dig their heels in and put the brakes on, before they ever even hear the other side out?

This reader is so correct to remind us that practicing acceptance, and opening our hearts, will encourage us to find common ground.

Reading Fever

Reading Fever

I read about 75 books every year. Reading is an addiction for me. I am in a monthly book club at our public library. Over the last few summers I’ve been reading books on the Time 100 Greatest Novels. I read memoirs, biographies (particularly Presidential biographies), best sellers, fiction, non-fiction. You name it, I read it.

People like me are lucky to be living in 2017. During the 1700s, when novels first became readily available, many prominent pundits were concerned that people were reading too much. They were especially concerned about young women. They dubbed this ailment “reading rage,” “reading fever,” “reading mania,” or “reading lust.” Oh my. Please tell me there’s no cure.



Formal reviews by book critics are nice, but unsolicited comments like this text I just received are even better:

“I’ve been under the weather this week and found lots of free time last night and this evening to read. I was hoping to finish before Sunday, but the storyline sucked me in and before I knew it I was through with Part 1! So, so enjoyable and I’m overwhelmed by how much research had to be done.”

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. While I was at church this morning, my thoughts drifted [as they often do]. I reflected on the relationship I had with my father.

My father passed to his heavenly home more than twenty years ago. He was still a vibrant man, full of dreams and plans. His unexpected death had a profound effect on my life. My father was a giant in my life. We didn’t live in the same city, but I talked to him every night at 6:00pm. Twenty-one years later, I still sometimes reach for my phone at 5:55. He gave me support. He gave me encouragement. He gave me love. And, when he was gone there was a huge void in my life.

In Part 1 of Phoebe’s Journey, Of Passion and Pride the pivotal moment in Phoebe’s life is the death of her beloved father, Miklos. So, is any part of this book autobiographical? Not really. There are significant differences in my 21st century life from Phoebe’s 1st century life. But, I can certainly relate to Phoebe’s sorrow and aching heart at the death of her father. I can understand her desire to keep his memory alive. I can connect to Phoebe’s longing to maintain her father’s life’s work. These are all actions that will honor her father and keep him close to her, even as she grieves. Centuries separate us, but our humanity connects us.

As yesterday’s church service came to a close, the congregation stood and sang a closing hymn together. It was one of my father’s favorites: Our God, He Is Alive. Tears streamed from my eyes as I imagined hearing my father’s booming voice, singing with abandon.

There is a God

He is alive

In Him we live

And we survive

From dust our God

Created man

He is our God

The great I Am.

What a legacy.



My Calendar

My Calendar

I started using a new calendar system in January that has literally changed my life. I’m not one to give faint praise, so I really urge you to check it out. This planner is far more than a simple calendar. It’s a guidebook that has helped me articulate my goals–short-term and long-range. It keeps me on track and accountable with a series of questions to answer each morning and, again, at night. There is space for visualization boards, my vision statement and mission statement.  Each month I enter my personal and professional goals, and create a roadmap to reach them. The calendar has weekly pages for my daily tasks, plus plenty of space to keep track of priorities. One thing I really love is the end of month reflection pages. This is where I can celebrate my accomplishments, track what I’ve learned and who inspired me, and make a note of where I fell short and why. There’s a reason they call it a “weekly success and life planner.” Believe me, I’ll be reordering for 2018.

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