source: New York Daily News
quietly in the garden.
unseen. unheard. unknown.
as God breathed the breath of life into adamah,
evil slithered in the shadows.
muscles, skin, and bones walking around
breathing; sighing; crying;
placed in the beauty of the garden.
Finding Your Voice: What Every Woman Needs To Live Her God-Given Passions Out Loud, Natalie Grant, Zondervan, 2016.
Grammy nominated Christian artist Natalie Grant has been a force in Christian music since 1999. As she tells it in her new book, Finding Your Voice, she had what one could call a spiritual awakening during a trip to India. This “pivotal encounter with God,” she says, changed her career.
It was on that trip she came face-to-face with women and girls who were victims of human trafficking. It was this encounter of the image of God in the Other that Grant had her epiphany: She has a voice and her voice has power.
Simon Tofield Simon’s Cat for Magazine interview. 24 October 2009
Changing the bed sheets is one of those necessary chores. You watch the sheets, take the old sheets off the bed, and then put the warm, clean sheets on the bed. Putting clean sheets on the bed just right can be a change all its own. Add a curious cat, and it becomes even more challenging.
Simon’s Cat has a collection of short films on YouTube. The most recent film is called Bed Sheets.
Every day with God is a 365-day devotional from VeggieTales. The updated content and art offer the perfect opportunity for parent and child to share time together each day. Each entry includes a Bible verse, short devotion, Thought of the Day, and prayer.
As the message to parents at the beginning notes, “As parents, you know the importance of teaching your children the big ideas that are found in God’s Holy Word.”
Baby, Baby! is a sweet, colorful board book filled with babies. Babies are increasing interested in looking at other babies. This book arrived at our house just as Toddler J began saying “baby” when talking about her baby doll or when she sees a baby.
This book was perfect for her.
The short rhyming poem illustrates different things that a baby can do. Wiggle, giggle, wave, etc. A couple of times when we read the book, I’ll ask Toddler J if she can do the same things. We have fun with it.
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love him – these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV)
Lord, today is a foggy day. We aren’t fans of foggy days. We have places to go, and the fog only slows us down.
Lord, you know that foggy days are a lot of things.
Depression and anxiety. Continue reading
This was the eulogy/homily I gave at the service of death and resurrection for my PaPa, Ernest Carter Stanley. Some of the stories you may have heard in a sermon or at a youth retreat, or read here on this blog. I read Revelation 21:1-7 from the small, pocket Bible that a chaplain gave him during World War II.
I had spent most of this warm, summer day helping my Momma clean, which is exactly what every middle school boy wants to do on his summer vacation, right? I managed to do what I think every middle school boy would do, escape under the phantom excuse of needing to take a walk. To my surprise, I actually did take a walk.
With the rural Virginia dirt under my bare feet, I set out on the longer of the paths that led through the woods behind the house, over the creek, and around the goat lot to the back field.
As I walked, I came upon the first creek to cross. I jumped over – well, really just stepped over – being careful of the barbed wire attached to the tree to my right. I stepped over the barbwire, with one foot on the ground and the other foot in the air when I heard it. It was a sound I had never heard in the woods before. I froze, listening intently to discern where the sound was coming from.
Pete’s Dragon is the newest family film from Disney. It is a brilliant film filled with adventure, laughs, and plenty of tear-jerkers. It is a great film to take a youth group, or other group, to. You can read my ponderings on the film here.
Below are some discussion questions you can use with your group. I’m sharing them here for those who are looking for such a resource. As a Christian educator, I should tell you, if you use these questions, don’t feel like you have to use them all. If anything, let the questions be a guide to having a conversation around the themes presented in the film.
“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” -Nathaniel Hawthrone
As I was preparing worship and a sermon for what would be my last Sunday at Peakland United Methodist as their Associate Minister, the communications coordinator, Kim, shared with me the bulletin cover she designed. It had a key verse from one of the scriptures I was using and a picture of a butterfly. It was perfect on all sorts of levels.
I hesitated to ask her to change anything. Finally, I asked if it would be possible to make the orange butterfly a yellow butterfly. She gave me one of those, “that’s an odd request” look, and then said, “Sure.”
Our favorite spot in the new house is quickly becoming the sunroom. This enclosed porch with sliding doors all around, gives us a postcard perfect glimpse of our backyard. It is more perfect when birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other friendly critters occupy the space.
It is a peace-filled space.
The other day while eating lunch on the sunroom, Toddler J and I watched as a squirrel hopped through the yard. As the squirrel started climbing the tree, Toddler J’s eyes lit up and a broad smile spread across her little face. She pointed up as the squirrel climbed the tree. When the squirrel was long out of sight, she was still pointing with excitement and mumbling what I believe was her attempt at saying,”squirrel.”