Do you have fond memories of 7th grade?

Maybe you were one of the cool kids or you had at least one loyal friendship to see you through those tumultuous, often cringe-worthy days, so the memories evoked by The Wonder Years—or similar coming of age shows—were not too painful.

But the scene pictured above hit a bit too close to home for me.

In 7th grade, I wasn’t cool, and I knew it. I remember the mean girl treatment—I don’t remember a single friendship. I wanted to forget those days forever, so when my yearbook arrived, I took a marker and completely blacked out crooked, cat-eyed glasses Kathy. Continue reading

I like to keep moving. Not one to dilly dally. If I spot a red light ahead, I take a detour just to keep moving. If I spy a long line, I bail if I don’t absolutely have to stay. Sitting still is not my nature. But not always. Some things are worth sitting still […]

“When we give thanks, we enter the presence of God. We start to see our circumstances through God’s eyes. We defeat Satan’s efforts to control our interpretation of reality. We have a chance to link our situation with the promises of God. We start to see ourselves and others from God’s perspective. All of our human relationships become healthier because they are now shaped by faith.”

2020 has been a year. For some, it has brought unbearable hardship and loss. Giving God thanks—especially in 2020—is not easy when walking through a dark time. It would be far easier to be like Job’s wife who suggested to Job to just “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9)

But when someone chooses to give thanks, not for all things, but “in all things,” it’s very likely that they believe in the God who took the worst thing—the death of His only son—to accomplish the best thing. And they know without a doubt, because of what God did for them at the cross, that God is good. His heart is for them.

I know a few of these folks. Every day since June, I look forward to a daily update on Caring Bridge written by Mike or Cathy Naranjo. It chronicles the ups and downs of their beautiful, effervescent 24-year-old daughter, Margo Naranjo, who received devastating injuries when hit by someone traveling through a red light at 60 miles an hour. Continue reading

Recently I posted a piece on acknowledging ways in which many of the women involved in MomsHooPray have Tested Positive In a Pandemic.

As life continued to be “challenging,” and parents and students struggled, I encouraged these moms to shore up their own faith by turning to God’s word—in order to pivot. Pivot from thinking too long or too often about what is crappydoodle—”because of COVID”—to what is absolutely amazing—”because of Christ.”

Here are a few “because of Christ” truths to combat the crappy “because of COVID” thoughts (otherwise known as stinkin’ thinkin’): Continue reading

It’s September. Time to learn and explore something that will improve our lives! So this is my shameless plug for reading and studying the gospel of John for the first time—or the fiftieth time—because it’s that good. The gospel of John is where Jesus makes 7 compelling claims about who he is.

And those claims beg the most important question you will ever be asked, “Who do you say that I am?”  

So read John’s gospel for yourself; make your own assessment about Jesus.

And may I suggest, don’t do it in a vacuum. First and foremost, invite God to be with you—even if you’re not sure He exists. Continue reading

Remember the old football cheer that required audience participation, “lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight”?  I’m virtually cheering for you with this “Fight, Fight, Fight” post. But it requires you to read, listen and watch. I promise that one or more Fightin’ segments will bless your […]

JB_72Our first Christmas in Charlottesville, and our adult kids and their significant others were celebrating in other places with other people.

The morning began with a twinge of melancholy for the exuberance of Christmas past. It would be a quiet day, just the two of us, for the most part. We had no plans other than seeing a movie. It seemed like it was shaping up to be like any other day—and that made me sad.

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It happened one chilly April morning. I found myself locked out of our new home with no spare key hidden under any fake rock. I was a total unwashed mess, underdressed in a thin T-shirt, wearing rainboots, and supposed to let my new cleaning lady into my house in just a short while. Continue reading

Last November, my sister and I distracted ourselves while waiting for good news on our mom’s hip replacement surgery. Her surgery went so well that we did not get as far down our scavenger photo list as we did when similar shenanigans entertained us years ago. We did it just so we would not go crazy with all the waiting. (You can see some of our “waiting game” pics below and at the gallery sidebar titled “While We Were Waiting”) Continue reading