My neighbors have hung Christmas lights. Friends have decorated their trees. Christmas music wafts down the hall from my daughter's bedroom. This is more than the normal commercial push. After months of social isolation, brutal protests, and ugly politics, people are craving Christmas this year.  We need a little Christmas, right this very minute... Good tidings and warm fuzzies. Twinkle lights and mistletoe. Romantic movies and Santa. It's the most wonderful time of the year... Misers give generously. Unkind people learn to love. Damaged relationships are mended.   Have yourself a merry little Christmas... Families gather. The decorations are flawless. The perfect gift is found. All our troubles disappear.  The world's idea of Christmas crumbles beneath our expectations . That Christmas, for all its shiny promises, misses the mark. Hope wrapped in pretty paper and ornate ribbons will always disappoint. True hope was wrapped in swaddling cloths.   A thrill of hope, the wear


I step over the threshold and am immediately engulfed by the absence of my grandfather's waiting arms open wide. I walk past the kitchen which so often nourished me, and into the living room where I have listened to thousands of tall tales and stories of the good old days. I overlook the dust and gaze back into the holidays and the ordinary days spent here. This is the place where my daddy was raised. Where the yard was home to a giant grapevine and an old tire swing. Where the dog was always named Bullet and the kitchen counter always held a jar of jelly beans. Where dessert meant yellow cake with chocolate icing, and Granddaddy drank milk with every meal. This is the place I cannot imagine my life without. I move through the house and silently say goodbye. It's unlikely I will return.  As much as I ache for the past, I cannot recreate it. All that's left are time-worn memories of people who loved me without fail.   ~~~~~ I am ecstatic. My cousin has gifted me with the bes


Onyx patterns stand against the pale morning. The shapes recognizable, but not distinguishable. The sun has yet to illuminate the unique features of each tree. I am reminded of a portrait that hung in my grandparents' home. A child's profile stamped onto creamy paper, her identity hidden.   ~~~~~ As a young bride, I sit beside the man whose heart is so freshly knit to mine. The artist uses scissors rather than a brush. When he is done, I survey his handiwork. Somehow we two are joined together; our individual characteristics are not visible. Our marriage not yet defined. This new creation is unmarked by years heavy with life. Nearly three decades later the outlines may look slightly different, but the people within them have been much altered by grace, love, and loss. ~~~~~ Isaac, a sacrificial son bound by obedience. Did he chafe against the ropes? Did he beg his father to find another way? David, a shepherd boy from Bethlehem. He cared for his sheep. He ascended to the throne


Headlights slice through the black. I watch for animals making their final move under cover of darkness. The day's tasks already run through my mind, the never ending playlist of this life. I'm on autopilot until I turn the corner, when I'm surprised to hear a breathless Wow! escape my lips. I can't count the number of colors I see. The designs painted in the sky. The detail of it all is astonishing. My first inclination is to stop, pull out my phone, and take a picture. Potential captions pop into my head. The car behind me quashes any chance I have at social media popularity for the day. I must keep driving. Although my attention should be on the road, my eyes are continually drawn to the ongoing magnificent display above me. The shifts in light and color are almost imperceptible, but each moment creates a scene more dazzling than the one before it. How could a piece of technology capture an all-glorious God at work? I feel ashamed that I wanted to try. And then, it h


It's Tuesday. I step out into the deep pitch of the morning and mentally prepare for the drive. I don't like driving this early.  Out of nowhere, white orbs hurtle toward me. They pierce the darkness and cause me to squint. I fight the urge to just close my eyes. Instead I focus on the tail lights in front of me. I know the one driving will always lead me to safety; he's been doing that for almost three decades now. Still my hands instinctively grasp tighter. My jaw clenches. A podcast keeps me company, diverts my attention from my fear. I glance at the clock and calculate how much time is left in the journey. A few minutes later, I repeat the same exercise. Rural darkness is like none other; it completely engulfs its surroundings. I know where I am, not because I see landmarks, but because I know how long I've been driving. Mercifully, it is over. My husband keeps driving to work, but I park and breathe a sigh of relief. I have arrived. Women start to trickle in. Swee


This weekend we picked out pumpkins and chrysanthemums for the front porch. Glancing over various shades and textures, I was so worried that the steady drizzle would become a downpour that I hardly took notice. My daughter was struck by the abundance the farmer's market had to offer. I was preoccupied with thoughts of getting out of the rain. Tinges of yellow and rust dot the skyline. The leaves are starting to fall. As creation prepares to hibernate, it erupts into a final array of glory; a memory to take with us into the months of short days and long nights. I drive by without giving it much thought, focused instead on whatever destination or task lies before me. As a child I carefully gathered leaves from the maple tree in our front yard, selecting various sizes and shades. Mama watched over my shoulder, gently guiding me as I pressed the iron over the sheets of wax paper to seal my treasures. I was in awe of the bright colors, how they burst forth in a blaze and suddenly vanish


It started with an email. A dear friend sent me a link to an article she thought I would enjoy. I opened it up, and my breath caught at the first lines. Here was beautiful prose, pointing me to Christ. In the matter of a few moments, I realized how much I missed blogging. Reading posts, and writing them. For much of the day, I pondered the place blogging had once held in my life, how easily I'd given it up, and how social media has generally been a stumbling block for me - giving too much time to it, placing too much importance on it, expecting too much recognition from it. When blogging seemed to be on its way out, I abandoned it for more popular, shorter bursts of communication. Both my brain and my spirit have felt the effects. I wonder about the neurological impact my smart phone has had on my brain.  I've noticed that my attention span has suffered. Trying to stem the tide, I installed safeguards: downtime and screen time features which have been extremely beneficial. I