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Sunday, April 24, 2011


word of the day: delightful \di-līt-fəl\ highly pleasing

I happen to think that “delightful” is a highly underused word. I was thinking about it today, in fact. Why would you say anything is just plain ol’ good when you could say it is delightful?

Beats me, really. Delightful is a delightful word.

I was thinking about the word today because today really was delightful.

It smelled like Spring today. Jake and I went on a walk and the air was full of freshly cut grass and fertilizer: two signs that spring is close to being here for good.


My mom’s hostas are peeking through the soil in her front yard and the daffodils are blooming at our neighbor’s house.


The sun was flat out shining today.


It was annual throw-your-junk-on-the-curb-for-people-to-drive-by-and-pick-up night in our town. I have vivid memories of people driving trucks already full of junk to our house on said night when I was a little kid and adding more junk to the back. Well, needless to say, Jake and I have two new lawn chairs, a ladder, a trash can, a fire pit, and a giant deck umbrella (although the latter two are for some dear friends who apparently needed somebody else’s junk too). Hey, I guess one man’s junk really is another man’s treasure.

Delightful. or something…

We had a delightful morning at church, a delightful Easter brunch with our family, and a delightfully authentic conversation following. Now if only the sun would decide to keep on shining tomorrow…

I stumbled across my last year’s Easter musings and decided that I don’t think there’s anything more to say about the matter. It’s like I always tell my kids: sometimes less is more.

So, here’s to a delightful week. May you find treasure amidst the junk.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


word of the day: center \ˈsen-tər\

noun: a point, area, person, or thing that is most important or pivotal in relation to an indicated activity, interest, or condition

verb: to give a central focus or basis

One of my students asked me an interesting question yesterday.  He wanted to know whether or not people in the Middle East refer to the current year as 2011.  What he was really wondering though was if Islamic nations refer to years by B.C./A.D. labels.  It was a good question that I didn't have an answer to.

But then he asked another question. 

"Why is the way we measure years centered around just one guy?"

The irony of the question didn't strike me until I really thought about it last night.  To this particular student, Jesus was nothing more than a historical figure.  Someone who was born, someone who did some cool things, and someone who died.  End of story.  If only this particular student knew that that's not actually where the story ends.  If only he knew that Jesus wasn't "just one guy".  If only He knew that Jesus isn't just the center of time but the center of everything.

If only he knew.

I know that Christ is the noun kind of center.  He's pivotal in relation to everything else. 

I also know that it is my responsibility to place Him at the center.  Knowing only goes so far before the verb has to take over.  Faith requires action, and that's something that seems to be a common lesson in my life right now.  

Easter is usually about reflection for me.  I ponder what Christ did for me.  I grimace at the thought of His pain and reflect upon how His resurrection has affected my life.  Then Easter passes and I stop thinking about it because the Easter lilies are taken off the display shelves in Hy-Vee and the brightly colored eggs are changed to flags because that’s the next holiday in tow. 

I’d like this Easter to be about more.  I’d like to remember Christ at the center, but I’d also like to do something about it.  I’d like to turn a noun into a verb.  I’d like to travel back in time to tell my student that it makes perfect sense that time is centered around Jesus. 

He’s that important.  Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


word of the day: benefit \ˈbe-nə-ˌfit\

noun: an entertainment or social event to raise funds for a person or cause
verb: to be useful or profitable to

We went to the noun kind of benefit on Friday at my high school alma mater: Des Moines Christian School.  A couple of months ago the Development Director called and asked me if I would be willing to recruit some fellow '04 graduates to fill up a table and speak highly about our experience should anyone ask.  Sounded like an excuse for a good time, so I happily agreed. 
There were ten of us total: Five graduates and five significant others, although to the naked eye, I'm not sure you could tell the difference between the two.  
 The last time I went to a DMC benefit I was in high school, so between refilling glasses of iced tea and singing on stage with the show choir, I never actually sat through an entire program.  I'm happy to say that I now have. 

It chokes my throat all up to be in a place where God is clearly at the forefront.  A place where first graders proudly recite Romans.  A place where an eleventh grader speaks honestly about how her life is being shaped by her faith.  A place where Tom Sawyer takes Christian overtones, staff members speak about convictions, and premiere parking spots auction off for $4200. 

The noun kind of benefit has then reminded me of the verb kind of benefit. And you know how I feel about those words with multiple meanings.

What a useful and profitable experience I had in high school. 

It's useful in the way that it taught me to think.  I am convinced that I am a more well-rounded thinker because of the way my worldview was shaped in high school. 

It's profitable in a way that has nothing to do with money.  My life has been benefited by the people who continue to influence my life even today. 

For one reason or another, God has chosen to bless me with really great friends in every season of life and for that, I will forever be thankful.
On a totally unrelated note, I had quite the "Give a Mouse a Cookie" Saturday yesterday.  You know the kind.  

If you wake up with every intention of going the gym, you will realize upon waking how horrifyingly disgusting your shower is (I don't use those adjectives lightly).  

So, you roll up your pants, grab the rubber gloves, and scrub the heck out of the tile with a bowl of hot water and bleach.  

Then, you figure, that since you're already wearing rubber gloves and already have a bleach stain on your pants, you might as well clean the sink and toilet.

Well, you can't very well clean only one counter in the house, so you move to the kitchen table and clear the clutter.  

As you go to grab the Pledge to dust off the table, you notice the bottle of Pine Sol in the back of the cabinet.  Upon inspection, you read "Great for floors!" and wonder why you wouldn't spend time hand washing all the tile floors.  

As you're on hands and knees washing and humming softly "Sing, Sweet Nightingale," you're bound to notice the smudges on the mirrors and windows.  

As you wash the bathroom mirror (the last in the house), you remember looking in the same mirror 2 hours earlier with every intention of going to the gym.  

Then you look in the shower you also cleaned 2 hours earlier and decide that's much more inviting. 

Moral of the story?  Having a clean house is nice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


word of the day: support \sə-ˈport\ to endure bravely or quietly; assist; help

I saw support personified this weekend.  I tasted its sweetness on my tongue.  I heard it in song and smelled its very presence.  This weekend support came in many forms. 

Support brought an endless amounts of food to my Aunt Becky's table.  The crock pots overfloweth and the meat and cheese trays kept replenishing themselves.  Support tasted like sweet pickles and maple pastries (although I wouldn't suggest putting the two together). 

Support spoke softly and unselfishly; it sang sweetly and confidently. 

Support sent beautiful arrangements of flowers from hundreds of miles away.  Today support smelled of lilies, carnations, daisies, and the occasional tulip.  

I didn't think I would be very emotional at my grandmother's funeral.  The end of her life was marked with much suffering because of Alzheimer's, and so, with death came great healing.  In addition, when someone you love goes through the process of Alzheimer's, you grieve along the way.  It hasn't been grandma for a long time, so I didn't really feel the need to mourn her death.  
Then support entered the scene.  He flew in and out of the scene so seamlessly that you almost didn't notice him.  He smiled at you quietly, refilled the cooler of pop, and dropped off a delicious fruit salad (complete with pineapple).  He touched your shoulder, poured you a cup of coffee, and went completely out of his way to let you know you were cared for.  Completely out of his way.

That's what gets me.  The support I mean.  My family was surrounded by people who cared unselfishly this weekend and to be on the receiving end of that is a humbling experience. 

But as I watched the slide show honoring my grandma's life, I realized that support has been there all along regardless of how noticeable his presence may have been.  Throughout the various pictures, support came in the form of aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, great-grand babies, and the cousins of cousins who really seem to be regular cousins anyways.  
Today I was reminded of the fact that support and family are interchangeable.  They are one in the same in the way they endure life both bravely and quietly.  Today I was reminded of how sweet my extended family is and I believe much of that can be attributed to how much my grandma valued family.  Family gatherings were many when I was young and they always centered around whatever my grandma had to offer.  Which usually came in the form of obstacle courses, sewing machines, and the hot tub that used to sit in her sun room.  

My family rejoiced in my grandma's death today because death isn't the end of the story.  Alzheimer's no longer attacks her body.  She has been restored.  Healed.  Rejuvenated.  Today my grandma lives. 

And today I learn another lesson in love.  A lesson that helps me to appreciate the family God has blessed me with and reminds me to support the people in my life who need supporting.  Because, good grief, when your friends from Iowa send flowers to your family all the way in Ohio, you feel pretty darn loved.

My cousin Michael shared a hymn today in his memories about my grandma.  It's reflective of her relationship with Christ and I can't stop thinking about its theme.
If God leads you to walk
A way that you know,
It will not benefit you as much as
If He would lead you to take the way
That you do not know.
This forces you to have
Hundreds and thousands of
Conversations with Him,
Resulting in a journey that is an
Everlasting memorial
Between you and Him.
May he lead us down roads we do not know so that we can grow from conversations with Him and learn from the support we receive along the way.  I think my grandma understood that very well, and I'm thankful that she set that example for us.  The journey our family takes is sweeter because of it.