• Profound impact of one's name

    The Profound Impact Of One’s Name

    Have you ever stopped to wonder about the beauty and power of a name?   Each name has a story.   Perhaps you were named after a grandparent, your moms’ best friend, or a character in your dad’s favorite movie. Or perhaps you weren’t named after anyone at all. It could be that your name came after months of debating seemingly countless options or in a pressured moment of decision a day or two after you were born. Perhaps your name’s origin is largely unknown, its significance lost to you. Regardless of…

  • life changing shared stories

    The Life-Changing Effect of Shared Stories

    Our Beautiful And Painful Stories   Some time ago, a friend mentioned that she loves sitting with people who are authentic and vulnerable, showing her what love looks like. I soon found myself doing exactly that, and loving every minute of it! It was a weekend of authenticity, connection, shared stories, and vulnerable confessions from the heart with friends, family, neighbors, and strangers. One of my favorite moments of vulnerability from the weekend was when a woman I’ve known for many years shared with a large group of women a…

  • 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…

  • recycle gratitude

    Recycled Gratitude: Thoughts On Recycle Bins and Authenticity

    It was a typical fall morning in my neighborhood as I walked to the curb to retrieve our recycle bin. I paused for a moment, noticing a simple note taped to the top of the bin. “What’s this?” I wondered. Removing the note from the green bin lid, I began to read, Great job! When it comes to recycling, you don’t monkey around and we are impressed! Thanks to residents like you, last year our city recycled more than 32,000 tons of material that would have otherwise been sent to…

  • Judge Not: A Hard Lesson Learned

    “Thou Shalt Not Judge” is a lesson I tend to learn over and over again.   The following experience happened to our family last year and still weighs on my mind: “Here’s my money, Mom,” my daughter said, smiling as she handed me two large bills, “I want to give it all.”“All of it?” I questioned, wondering if she wasn’t being too generous.It was a lot of money to give a homeless person on the street corner, but who was I to say how she could or could not spend…

  • hope for bad moms everywhere

    Hope For Bad Moms Everywhere

    A QUESTION “Do all moms think they are bad moms?” my eight-year-old daughter asked me, her eyes full of innocence.We were sitting around the dinner table; I was telling my family about a talk I had heard at a Women’s Conference earlier that day.The speaker, a woman with beautiful long black hair, shared with us a personal experience from her journal–a dark period in her life when she had felt hopeless, hopeless to overcome her weaknesses and become the person she is meant to be. In agony of soul, she…

  • Freeing Ourselves of Barnacles The Miracle Of Forgiveness

    Freeing Ourselves Of Barnacles: The Miracle Of Forgiveness

    He was a sailor. He loved the ocean and the ships on which he sailed. And despite the rough and temperamental seas, he always managed to arrive home safely. He was my husband’s hardworking and adventurous grandfather, Benjamin O.Of all the threats to a ship, barnacles may be one of the most fascinating. In his life history, Grandpa recorded the following around 1924, “Had the ship’s barnacles scraped and bottom painted. I heard it cost $6,000 dollars.”     On her website, Dr. Jean Davidson shares a short and beautiful metaphor regarding…

  • Safe and happy neighborhoods

    Safe and Happy Neighborhoods

    Some time ago I sat with a city councilman and other members of the community to discuss how we might improve our neighborhoods.   “We need more police presence in our neighborhoods,” someone suggested right away. Most everyone agreed. I sat back in my seat and listened to their argument. When they were finished discussing the idea of increasing the police force in an effort to curb the crime, speeding, and other safety issues in our community, I sat up in my seat as someone said, “That’s an interesting perspective.…

  • For the sake of the children girl

    For The Sake Of The Children: A Life-Changing Conversation

    It was a life-changing experience for our family, an experience that my daughter and I have discussed in great depth. She feels it is an important message to share with others—for the sake of the children. So, with the hope that this might benefit a family or two, we share the following with you: It was an ordinary evening—at least in the beginning it was. But what was once ordinary and routine would soon turn into a night like no other. The kids were heading to bed and I was planning to enjoy…

  • The Joy of Hospitality

    The Joy Of Hospitality: A Reluctant Husband’s Perspective

    My husband has never been what I would call hospitable. While he lovingly supports my efforts to invite people into our home and around our table, it has always made him feel a little uncomfortable. He prefers to reach out to others behind the scenes, where it feels a bit safer, a bit more…well, comfortable. When it comes to reaching out to others, he prefers to be ‘up and doing’, rather than sitting around a table.   For me, it is a kitchen table chair that fans the flame of…