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I’m the reason the UPS guy has a new route

You need some backstory. It began when I was 15. My friends and I went on a Spring Break trip with a church youth group. One of us decided a quick game of softball would be a fun way to waste a few minutes. But that ended after the first hit when the ball landed on my face. What was supposed to be a fun, 3 day get-away turned into an emergency trip to the dentist to get my tooth shoved back into my gums. I’ll spare you the gore, but blood, puking, swelling, stitches, strange glue holding my teeth together, infection, a round of antibiotics shot directly into my left cheek (not the one of my face), and innumerable dentists visits are all a part of my story. 
However, not until many years later did the UPS get involved. 
You see, whatever dental magic was done to me between that fateful day and on through my early 30’s was no longer doing it’s job and I needed a dental implant. The prosthetic dentist told me this was a fairly easy process and set my appointment. Since my dentist was 40 mi…
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Supporting Planks

Just near the border of Connecticut and Rhode Island, there is a tiny tree surviving- and maybe even thriving- because of it’s thin connection to the earth. I am not sure what happened to cause the tree to be in the condition it’s in, but I can see how it is not giving up. You see, the tree seems to be precariously growing out of a dead looking stump, only the stump is about 4 feet high, all dried up, and falling apart and it being held up by planks of wood. You can see the bare roots stretching through the air the length of the stump. Somewhere, about half way down the stump, the roots begin tunneling inside the stump and become unseen. It looks like someone glued together a wheel barrow of mulch. Somehow that mulch tower is providing just the right amount of structure to let the fighting tree make it. 
Something about this tree grabbed my attention. I wasn’t too sure in the moment, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that this little tree looks a lot like the way I feel…

Mental Space

At the time, I had two small daughters. My husband and I were directors of a campus ministry and our schedules were so busy that we often high-fived each other as we swapped duties both at home and on campus. My daughters were born 19 months apart, so between October 2005 to sometime in the spring of 2007, I was carrying a baby in my womb, breastfeeding a baby, or carrying one or both on my hips. My heart and arms were full and life never stopped moving. I was tired but I loved it. 
I was relentless with my schedule. My girls and I had our days super planned so that we had an idea of how things might go, but be willing to shift plans when something else came up. I also knew that if I got behind in my day, I would have to scurry to catch up, so I rarely let time slip. It was impossible to be still. 
The schedule kept my attention. The schedule was intentional.  The schedule was necessary. 
Soon after my younger daughter was big enough to be left with a relative for a weekend, Gil and I went…

New Campus Missionary's Survival Kit

You’ll need to following items to survive your first few semesters in Chi Alpha. Prep well and gather these essential items:
New XA Shirt- Promoting your new logo is a secondary benefit of new Chi Alpha shirts. You need to make sure you have many of these around because you won’t be able to do laundry for a solid three weeks. Use the wear & air method; wear it once, air it out, wear it again. When in Rome, right? 
Name tags- People think you need name tags to learn names. This rarely works, but we do it anyway. However, the pack of 500 name tags you’ll burn through is more there to remind you that this mission will begin to show you who the real you truly is, and more importantly, who God really is. Call on His name. We can’t do this gig without him, don’t try. 
Duct tape- Every seasoned campus missionary stashes a role of duct tape in their supply bag for ministry events because you never know what you will need to repair. This also comes in handy to tape your berks back together an…

Twinkling Cedar Log Moments: a lesson in treasuring children

Whenever I smell cedar logs burning in a fire place, I am immediately brought back to sweet moments in my childhood. You see, my sister and I were lavishly loved by our pastor and his wife, something that we deeply needed. The church was huge and broadcasted live on TV each Sunday, but they made time for two little girls that they knew needed some extra loving. They even let us ‘adopt’ them as grandparents.
I remember the days we would go to their house for a few hours. We got to play in their pantry and pretend it was a grocery store. We went on walks in their woods and he struggled to button my denim jacket because it was a little too cold to be outside with my jacket open. I remember their big, antique looking bathroom with a clawfoot tub and the big windows upstairs in his Study. I remember all the pretty things around the house. But I mostly remember the smell of cedar logs burning in the fireplace. 
Maybe it’s just my own understanding of how heating with a fireplace works, but in…

Washing

I listened to Philippians today. It’s a letter from Paul to the church in Philippi. One theme stuck out to me: servanthood. Paul reminds the body of believers to serve others, to be humble, to work hard with your body and to take note of others doing the same, to become like Jesus even to the point of death. This seems to run perpendicular to the idea that “every knee shall bow at Jesus’ name”, but this is what we are called to do. 
My mind wandered to the stage of life I am in currently and the tasks required of me to serve, tending to the needs of those that can’t quite take care of those needs all on their own yet. I wash bodies, clothes, sheets and towels, dishes, food, counters, floors, windows, myself, the dog, the sinks and tubs all these things are washed in, and even the car. I go through a lot of dish soap, vinegar and baking soda. I am beginning to realize that there is a lot of washing that happens in the Bible, too. 
You see, we are cleaned by the washing of the water with …

Under the Pew

Since my youngest has been old enough to wiggle, I have continually found him laying down beneath the church pew. I have tried my best to silently wrestle markers, crayons, pens and pencils out of his hands before he left an everlasting impression upon the seats, but I am certain he scribbled on the bottom of the pew at least once already. One day, I just might get down there and take a look for myself. 
Last Sunday, I snapped a picture of his view during service. We sit on the last row, so it showed all the rows ahead of us and it’s quite an interesting view. A low view. An unimpressive view. A quiet view. A grounded view. 
Ben’s view made me think of how young children see people. They can’t tell the quality of our clothes or the status that we try to portray to other people. Kids can’t determine our value based on the cute shoes we wear, the loud voices we turn on, or the smart sounding words we employ. Kids are straightforward and honest. Their view is grounded. 
We should, like alwa…