One of King David’s songs to God that has been handed down to us in our Bibles is Psalm 139. Eugene Peterson has paraphrased some of it this way, “God, I’m an open book to You; even from a distance, You know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of Your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and You’re there, then up ahead and You’re there, too— Your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!”
David had difficulty finding words that were sufficient to express his amazement that God cared so much about him. Later, in the same song, David wrote about God forming him in his mother’s womb. Not only did God know him intimately, but God supervised all aspects of his development before birth. Continue reading
With coronavirus shutting government schools, millions of parents have a historic opportunity to try homeschooling and non-government alternatives, declared leaders with the new movement “Public School Exit.”
According to the non-profit, founded in 2019 by Christian leaders passionate about K-12 education, government schools are seriously harming children through sexualization, indoctrination, and dumbing down.
But with schools closed across America due to COVID19, interest in home education and online options are surging.
PSE co-founder Dran Reese, president of The Salt & Light Council, called on ministry leaders to be involved. “Pastors and church leaders have a huge role to play in equipping congregations with a biblical understanding of citizenship, and that includes education of children,” she said. “This pandemic is a perfect time for pastors on the sidelines to get involved.” Continue reading
As an introvert and homeschooling mom, I have an extraordinarily high threshold for isolation. I’ve been known to say my dream vacation is actually staying home for a week while my husband and children escape to some exotic locale, though if I’m completely honest I could probably go longer than seven days without them.
Or so I thought.
This world-wide pandemic and accompanying quarantine has me a little twitchy today, and I’m still surrounded by family. I’ve been on social media more than usual, avoiding the news while simultaneously seeking updates concerning the welfare of friends and family.
These are strange times, unlike anything most of us have ever seen, and many are suffering despite their lack of symptoms, because God created us for community.
Luckily most of us still have it in digital form, the hope and positivity radiating from our devices is encouraging. Those of us with faith know God brings great blessing out of turbulent times, and this situation is no different. He is bigger, stronger, and remains in control.
The lessons we carry down the road with us from living in this present moment are sure to be spectacular, many of us are already learning things about ourselves and about this world that we never knew. Continue reading
I have a collection of Disney figurines – Bambi’s, Thumper’s, Flower’s – all the charming characters given voices to gently teach children about the kindness of life – only hinting occasionally at possible danger. The Disney animals taught us joy, love, and safety, occasionally making us laugh in the bargain. My parents were, I am sure, confounded by my insistence that, yes, animals could talk; and yes, they could teach me about life; and, absolutely, my parents could sit through Bambi ten times! Not to mention, Wind in The Willows, which I called “English Disney.”
When I was a very young girl, and it was time for me to learn about my body and what to expect, Walt Disney came out with a movie called, The Story of Menstruation. Mothers everywhere were relieved that they wouldn’t have to explain it! Blue Birds, Campfire Girls and Girl Scouts were offered showings of the film. I remember my mom saying to my dad, “don’t hold your breath!” And so, I saw the movie with my fellow Blue Birds/Camp Fire girls. Arriving home from work, Daddy couldn’t wait to find out how it went! Mother said rather cryptically, “Go ahead, ask her!” “Oh, daddy,” I spurt forth, “it was the cutest movie! This little girl had this problem and then as she grew up, it wasn’t a problem anymore! And there were all these cute little helpers and I just loved it!” When dad quit laughing, mom said, “she wants to see it again!” Continue reading
Unless you are living in outer space eating entirely chemical food, you no doubt realize that food does not come from grocery stores. Food comes from your beautiful green Earth. Every ounce of food in any grocery store has traveled there using petroleum to get there! The average distance your food has traveled is between 1,200 and 1,500 miles. That’s a lot of gas usage. And doesn’t include the rest of it–like processing, packaging, and refrigeration.
It doesn’t have to be that way if you only use food from your hundred mile radius. Or better yet, grow your own food in your own backyard, at least some of it. Or forage in your own yard if you are not using cancer-causing chemicals (glyphosphate, otherwise known as Round-Up). Or learn to do without some things. There ARE NO strawberries growing in our area at this time of the year. Soon, though. Continue reading
After we buried Grandma in the New Hope Community Church cemetery, my sister Delta and I decided to walk the two miles back to the little crossroads settlement of Peace Valley. It was such a fine day, several of our cousins joined us. Most of them we hadn’t seen in twenty-five years, and some we had never met at all.
We picked our way along the edge of the dirt road as we got reacquainted. Approaching the town, I said I’d like to stop at Otis Williams’ store and take care of some old business with Otis. One of my cousins, who had never left Peace Valley, said, “Oh, you haven’t heard: Otis died eight years ago.”
Startled, I asked, “Then who owns the store now?” This was news that might change my whole plan of attack.
“His wife Mildred. You remember Mildred, don’t you?”
“Sure, nice looking lady in her late twenties?”
“Well, no, she’s almost sixty now, but she still runs the store, every day.”
Our cousins walked past the store on the gravel road that ran through the Continue reading
“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands.”—Bob Dylan.
“I told my mom I was going to runaway and join the circus . . . and then I did,” said Alina Stasik, with a laugh, explaining her life-long love affair with horses and performing. The Washington State Horse Expo, March 6–8, 2020, at the Clark County Event Center, Ridgefield, WA, will feature beautiful horses, nationally ranked horse trainers, an Equine Marketplace, kid concentric activities—and Alina with her horse Bubba, a professional theatrical circus performing duo.
According to Alina, the first time she saw tricks performed on a horse as a young girl she knew then and there exactly what she was going to do when she grew up. She started western trick and stunt riding at the age of seven in her hometown of Golden, Colorado, where she trained at the Red Top Ranch under Karen Vold, Linda Scholtz, and Mellissa Pfaff. She went pro at the age of fourteen, performing in rodeos across the country. At the age of 17, she ran away to join the circus and changed to the more traditional form of trick riding known as Cossack with stops along the way performing with the world famous Cavalia Odysseo tour where she blended awe-inspiring equestrian arts with amazing acrobatic feats. Continue reading
Kahlil Gibran said it well: “Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.” Oregonians are a generous group—they give to food banks, homeless, animal shelters, and more. Giving to help others makes you feel even better about yourself. February 17th is “Random Acts of Kindness Day” but let’s do something every day to help someone else. All of us can.
The cold, wet, dark, and snowy months cause us to seek inner warmth as well as outer warmth. While giving blankets and coats to the homeless or animal shelters leads to feelings of warmth in your own heart, we must beware of self-serving charities. Any registered charity can be checked out but giving locally will give you a greater feeling of helpfulness. For instance, instead of sending dollars to a charity that can afford TV commercials or sending you “gifts,” you can give those blankets and towels to the local animal shelter or homeless shelter.
Get your kids and grandkids involved. When they see you giving they’re more likely to grow up caring about others. Some schools even teach that. But let the kids choose what appeals to them whether a nursing home, disaster victims, a hospital, food bank, or even a community garden, where excess produce is given to the Oregon Food Bank, which does an amazing job of distribution. Remember to donate food for pets too. Continue reading
When I was growing up in the 1940’s, my family lived in a very eclectic neighborhood. It seemed that every dad and/or mom pursued a different occupation. Every family had children and we all played together. At the time, I had no idea I would spend all my formative years in that neighborhood, not leaving it until I married. Our parents were either best friends or at the least fine neighbors. It was as if an unspoken code of ethics and conduct existed. Wives cleaned their own houses and husbands took care of their own yards. Summer brought the ice truck and the vegetable man. My own father drove an ice cream truck delivering gallons to the neighborhood. The rest of the year he worked in the Portland Public School’s administration.
Across the street lived an attorney and his family. Up the hill lived an active member of the NAACP. Whenever that family had lamb stew, I was invited to have dinner with them. Their daughter Elizabeth was one of my best friends. I would sit at their table marveling at the beautiful oil painting of a nude black woman that hung on the wall. We all had pets – theirs was a standard white poodle. We were served wine even as youngsters in dainty glasses. I found this to be an amazing experience. Much later in life, I would drive my friend’s mother to NAACP meetings.
I remember only a few times, when as a neighborhood, we experienced real tragedy. Our house was on a corner where four streets met. The second house across from us, facing the side street, was home to a family that was quiet and tended to wave hello’s although the children played with us. Continue reading
“Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me.” —Bohemian Rhapsody
Sometimes I feel like I live in a bubble. It seems as if nearly every waking moment my mind is racing as I struggle to figure out what we can do to stop the onslaught of evil that is enveloping this land.
It is not the evil that troubles my sleep. It is the apathy. It reminds me of the old saw about the high school social studies teacher who asked his students what was the most pressing need facing the nation. To his despair, the most common response was, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Any way the wind blows….
But my frustration doesn’t come from a gaggle of high school students who couldn’t tell the difference between a paper dollar and a solid Gold Eagle coin, but from the frumpy, sports focused men who attend the regular men’s “prayer breakfast” at your average evan-jellyfish assembly.
This really hit home last Monday night as I watched a stadium full of grown men paint their faces and jump up and down in hopes of cheering the LSU Tigers to victory in the National Championship game in The Big Easy. Continue reading