• The actions that define us refugees

    Refugees: The Actions That Define Us

    Some time ago I found myself in the company of twenty-one refugees, and individuals who, in one way or another, are assisting refugees. Being a refugee may be a defining moment in the lives of those who are refugees, but being a refugee does not define them. Like countless thousands before them, this will be a period—we hope a short period—in their lives. Some of them will go on to be Nobel laureates, public servants, physicians, scientists, musicians, artists, religious leaders, and contributors in other fields. Indeed, many of them were these things before they lost everything. This moment does not define them, but our response will help define us. ~ Elder Patrick Kearon…

  • Enjoy the little things

    Enjoy The Little Things

    Happy.   It’s a word we each hope will describe our life. Fortunately, happiness is within the reach of each one of us if we’ll but take hold of it and refuse to let it go, regardless of our current circumstances. I recall a time many years ago when I was going through a difficult time. Periodically, I’d call my mom to discuss with her my current set of challenges and express how unfairly life was treating me. She would listen patiently and then ask the question she always asked,   “Have you served anyone lately?“   I knew she was right, that serving someone else and focusing on their…

  • Authentic life

    31 Days To An Authentic Life

    Welcome to 31 Days to an Authentic Life!   Authenticity. We crave it. We long for relationships that are authentic–genuine, real, true– but are often unsure how to go about creating them.   How does one actually LIVE an authentic life on a day-to-day basis with the people in their lives? How can one create a close, abiding relationship with God? How can we connect with family members in powerful, lasting ways? How can we be strengthened through friendships? How might we connect with neighbors and strangers in convicting ways? How can we be true to ourselves?   These questions and more will be addressed in my posts this month.…

  • generous books
    Authentic Connection

    Books That Inspire A Generous Heart

    A generous heart is not an easy thing to create in a world so filled with entitlement.   Take me for example. It seems I’m reminded of things I want or “need” at every turn by friends, television, social media, the “Jones” next door. Clothes, toys, entertainment, comfort food—I’ve always got something on my wish list, something I “can’t live without”.   This entitlement attitude of mine has turned into a problem in our home, a problem that is multiplying rapidly, for no matter how often I ask my children to do what I SAY rather than what I DO, they just won’t listen. Why is this? Why on earth…

  • Authentic Connection

    The Kindness of Strangers

    “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”– William Butler Yeats The Costco parking lot, as we all know, is a zoo right before Thanksgiving, and I was having the time of my life finding a parking spot for my long bed truck. Inching my way past the row of vehicles, I was forced to step on the brakes as a car in front of me pulled out of their parking spot. The person in the car next to me, unaware of why I had stopped, honked the horn in impatience. I turned to look at them and realized they were hoping to pull into a parking…

  • yellow rose
    Authentic Connection

    An Awkward Interruption

    God interrupted me today.   Sometimes His awkward interruptions make no sense to me. I had just purchased the most beautiful yellow roses to take to a friend. It was to be a surprise. As I walked to my car, with flowers in hand, I found myself thinking about how the great men and women in history let their light shine during the most trying of times. Then I thought of the elderly man who stopped to visit with me earlier in the day as I held the door open for him. I thought of the way he enthusiastically said, “I will!” as he hobbled down the sidewalk with the…

  • Authentic Connection

    Worth The Effort: An Evening Spent With The Homeless

    The best things in life take effort on our part.   Standing in the back yard on a beautiful fall afternoon, it occurred to me how wonderful it would be to not have any obligations that day…to just be able to stay at home and relax. But no, we had committed to provide an activity for a few homeless children that night, which would mean a trip to the store, a couple hours worth of preparation, an evening spent away from home….and a big step out of our comfort zone. Time, money, comfort—three things that are rarely easy to sacrifice. “But it will be worth it,” I tried to reassure myself. “It always is, isn’t it?” I walked…