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The Call to Mentor | Titus 1

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Welcome to Real Life . Some things must be taught. “My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’” –Jim Rohn I was so fresh. At age nineteen, I landed a receptionist position at National Engineering and Contracting Company. It was my first experience in a corporate culture. Muriel (Wilson) Dean, the office manager and my supervisor, patiently schooled me in office etiquette, administrative, and relational skills. Muriel led by example. It was the early 1980’s. I watched her become the first black female stockholder at our heavy-highway construction company. [1] Under her mentorship, I was soon promoted as Executive Assistant to the Chief Engineer. Muriel joined the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Cleveland Chapter, and rose to the office of President. She not only sponsored me to join NAWIC, she inspired me to hold offices as well. Muriel graciously let me tag along to NAWIC regional forums and conferences. I stil

Compassionate Rescue | John 8

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Welcome to Real Life . Black and white rarely is. Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty And the pig likes it.  –George Bernard Shaw Disheveled, the woman is dragged into the temple courts. Shame, embarrassment, and fear surround her. The punishment for adultery is stoning—to death. Clearly, she is guilty. Caught in the very act. “Now what do you say, Teacher?” the religious authorities ask.  What can he say? The law is black and white. But this accusation is a dirty grey. Because these leaders care little for this woman or her transgression. If they sincerely sought justice, where is the man? Adultery requires two. They hunger not for justice, but blood—Jesus’ blood. They were seeking to trap Jesus into saying something, anything they could use to arrest him. In upholding the letter of the law, these teachers of the law miss the heart of the law—God’s heart. Sin is wrong because it destroys us. That's why he wants us to stay far from it. Adultery rips apart lives, marriages,

God With Us | John 1

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Welcome to Real Life . Before he laid the foundations of the earth, God had you in mind! The beauty of Christmas is not in the presents, but in His presence! We usually start a story at the beginning. For this reason, John doesn’t begin his Christmas story in Bethlehem. Instead, he takes us back to the very beginning, even before the dawn of creation.  In the beginning was the Word,  and the Word was with God,  and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  (John 1:1,14 NIV Emphasis mine)  Jesus Christ is God! If we miss this, we will never fully embrace the miracle of Emmanuel. Our all-powerful God chose to inhabit the least powerful human form—a newborn babe. [1]  An infant is completely dependent on others for survival. He or she cannot speak, eat, or move without assistance. But does an infant have no power?  Does a baby do nothing? . . . Is it nothing that the baby opens such fountains of love in almost all the hearts around? Was not Jesus going to es

Why I Love to Decorate Our Christmas Tree!

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 Welcome to Real Life . O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree. How lovely are thy branches. He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.   – Roy L. Smith Our Christmas tree isn't elegant or themed to match our d├ęcor. Rather, it's a cozy mix of eclectic ornaments spanning a lifetime. Many tell a story. This is a sampling. Our holiday season begins at Fred's Tree Farm. [1]  Our first time there, we left our infant son Denny with my parents to meet Terry's family at Fred's. Denny is now thirty-three. We've cut our fresh tree at Fred's Tree Farm every year since.  My brother Joe, a retired 82nd Airborne Army Sergeant, served in the first Gulf War—Operation Desert Storm. He bought me this Arabian Oil Lamp ornament as a souvenir. Each time I hang it, my heart swells with pride over my brother's military service. I thank God for protecting him in dangerous places! As a young mom, I served as a Care Group Leader in our church's MOPs (M

999: Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

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Welcome to Real Life . Some stories, though horrendous, must be told.  People are still writing about the Holocaust? That was my first thought when my friend Michelle texted me this image of the book she was reading. Two previously unknown facts about the Holocaust piqued my interest. First, the transport was from Slovakia. As a daughter of Slovak immigrants, everything about Slovakia interests me. And second, the transport contained women, 999 of them, ages 16–36. As a woman, I was curious about their experiences.  The edict was announced February 28, 1942. In select Slovak cities, single Jewish females ages 16-36 were to report for three months of government work. Though disconcerting to Jewish parents, remember, this was new. There had been no transports to concentration camps. It was rumored the girls would work at a Slovak shoe factory. As anti-Semitism increased, some Jewish families considered this an opportunity to prove their patriotism and support their government. Few of the

Will You Lay Aside Your Crown? | Philippians 2

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Welcome to Real Life . A recent sermon reminded me of a question. We can't all be princesses. Someone has to clap when I walk by. -Anonymous Little girls often dream of becoming a princess. A few years ago, we encouraged women to embrace their identity as princesses by attending our Daughters of the King Retreat . In preparation for the event, I was preparing a devotional for a committee meeting. I fell asleep asking God what he wanted to say to these women. The next morning, I awoke with a question on my mind.  Will you lay aside your crown?  Retreats provide a much-needed break from responsibilities, as well as an opportunity to rest, have fun, and draw near to God. At this retreat, we sought to pamper the women like princesses. We decorated with jeweled, satin pillows, and crowns; each woman received a tiara; and a princess greeted attendees (photo below). Although we, the committee, are also daughter-of-the-King princesses, we didn't attend expecting to be pampered. We had

My Prize, My Pleasure, My Portion | Psalm 16

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Welcome to Real Life . It (real life) doesn't always turn out as expected.  THIS TOO SHALL PASS. It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass. –Anonymous  2020 has been the year of disappointments. Wedding receptions cancelled or downsized. Baby showers on Zoom. Hospitalizations (and even deaths) without loved ones near to comfort. Jobs lost. Businesses closed for good. Milestone birthdays with no big parties. So many trips cancelled. Sporting events minus spectators. Oh, how I miss the excitement of a crowd, the festivals, and celebrations! 2020 has taught us to appreciate community. In the midst of disappointments and cancellations, I take comfort in the words of King David.  Lord, you are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion. I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands. As people of faith, our richest treasure is knowing Jesus Christ. Because we placed our faith securely in Christ, we have a hope that reaches beyond the disappointments of this life. No virus can rob