Coronavirus: Our Unexpected Journey

Welcome to Real Life. Courage is not lack of fear, but facing the challenge despite the fear.
“Why the halfling?” Lady Galadriel asks.

“I don't know. Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I've found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid and he gives me courage,” Gandalf replies. Stuck at home due to the Coronavirus, my husband and I needed an epic film series to divert our attention. What better than J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings? As we began The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I recalled Tolkien wrote these books during World War II, a time of great fear, suffering, and death. The very woes we face in this pandemic.

The tale begins when the wizard Gandalf hosts a battle summit in Bilbo’s home—without the hobbit’s consent. The dwarfs are on a quest to…

Spring Cleaning | Psalm 32

Welcome to Real Life. Coronavirus has us disinfecting every surface. But maybe we need to clean below the surface.
The key to spring cleaning is to be ruthless!  Throw out anything and everything you never use.  (Or that may be incriminating. Burn, if necessary.)  –Josie Brown[1]

Spring is awakening! On a recent Saturday, glorious sun rays burst through my window shattering the gray, dreary spell of winter. The sunshine warmed and delighted me. But it also illuminated the dirt and dust that hides on cloudy days. I was suddenly overcome by an urge to spring clean. (This happens rarely. So, when it hits, I go with it.)

Later, the nightly news declared, “Spring cleaning is good for our mental health!” When our houses are less cluttered, clean, and organized we feel better, less stressed, and less depressed.[2] I was living the truth of it. My house was clean. My heart was happy!

Spring is awakening! With it, comes Lent. Traditionally, this is a season of repentance in preparation for Eas…

Holy Ground | Exodus 3

Welcome to Real Life. Where do we find holy ground?

Pochvalen bud Pan Jezis Kristus! 
“Praised be Jesus Christ!” my father would proclaim in Slovak as he entered our childhood home.

Na veky vekov. “For ever and ever,” we replied.

“Amen!” he concluded. So be it!


Nowadays, upon entering our house, we remove our shoes. Our home is our sanctuary. It is an intimate, private space and not a common thoroughfare. Some cultures consider this an act of respect.

“Take off your sandals,” the Lord told Moses, “for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

At the time, the Israelites were cruelly oppressed as slaves to the Egyptians. “Save us!” God’s people cried. God heard. He cared. He chose Moses to deliver them. One problem. Moses didn’t know God. So, God introduced himself. He manifested in a bush aflame, yet not consumed.

As Moses drew near to investigate, the Lord called out, “Take off your sandals.” Moses was standing on holy ground. He was not in church. …

God's Colorful Kingdom | James 2

Welcome to Real Life. What color is your favorite?
I'm asking you not to be color blind,
but to be color brave.
-Mellody Hobson I love green. But if the sky, clouds, and everything was green, I’d soon tire of it. Wouldn’t you? Green's beauty is best appreciated in contrast with other colors.

What if every person looked exactly alike? Boring! Instead, God created us in a variety of sizes, shapes, and shades. We are male and female, tall and short, rich and poor. We speak six thousand languages.[1] We worship in silent meditation and shouts of “Hallelujah!” We are athletes, engineers, mothers, soldiers, and artisans. This is the colorful world God created.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth,”[2] we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. When we pray this, let’s be mindful of the wonderful diversity inherent in God’s kingdom, his family. In some families, siblings resemble each other so closely it's easy to see they're related. But in other families, siblings differ so vas…

We Belong Together | 1 Peter 2

Welcome to Real Life. I need you!

If we have no peace it is because
we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
–Mother Theresa[1]
I spent an hour talking to someone on the phone the other day. I know… a whole hour feels extravagant. I almost felt guilty. I could have done laundry, exercised, or worked on a project. But she and I hadn’t talked in a long while, both of us busy with work and family. After we hung up, I felt connected to her. It felt good!

Days race by. We work, study, go, and do. All the while, we're often surrounded by people and feel alone. We comment on social media. We text (to avoid an hour phone call). Time is precious. We’ve grown rich in belongings, poor in belonging.

And yet, we need to belong! God hard-wired us for relationships. You and I were born into a family. We are meant to exist within a community. From others, we learn, grow, and develop. Through others, we discover who we’re meant to be, what we love to do, where we shine, and where we don&…

The Reveal | Luke 1

Welcome to Real Life. Sometimes a pregnancy elicits mixed reactions.

“I think that carrying a baby inside you is like running as fast as you can. It feels like finally letting go and filling yourself up to the wildest limits.” –Author unknown[1]

“Have you heard?” the woman asks her neighbor, “Mary’s pregnant.”

“Joseph’s Mary? But they aren’t married yet,” her friend replies.

“Joseph isn’t the father. It probably happened in Judea while she was visiting her cousin Elizabeth, and away from her parents’ watchful eyes.”

“No, I can’t believe it. Sweet, innocent Mary?” the woman’s eyes pop. “Poor Joseph. What will he do?”

“Well, you know Joseph. He’s an upright man. He’ll deal with it quietly. I hope he finds a good, faithful wife who will appreciate him.”

God rarely arrives as expected. The king of kings didn’t enter a capital city with pomp and ceremony. He came quietly. As a helpless infant. Born in a humble village, to a young virgin, in a family lacking prominence—except in Go…

Just Ask | James 4

Welcome to Real Life. What do I need?

Dear Lord, As your humble servant 
let me prove to you that  winning the lottery won’t change me. Amen.[1]
“You don’t have because you don’t ask God.” This gentle chide in the book of James never fails to encourage me to pray. If you need something, ask for it. Easy-peasy. The Lord is handing out blank checks. So, I begin contemplating. What do I need? What do I want to see happen? 

But James’ next words give me pause.
When you ask, you do not receive,
because you ask with wrong motives
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:2–3 NIV Yikes! Motivation is key. Maybe the lottery prayer isn’t a good idea. God’s blank check comes with a caveat. What's driving my desires? Do I need a better car or just want a shiny, new, candy-apple-red one? Do I seek success in writing because I love to encourage people or has selfish ambition crept in? I usually begin with pure intentions, but along the way my focus easily shifts to me, me, me.