Church discipline: Our four heads were smacked together like Dominoes.

As an adult, my temptation is to be stiff and rational in my worship while inwardly judging the motives or sincerity of others who don’t worship the same as I do. (I’m great at judging others — it’s kind of a spiritual gift.) One of my brothers recently reminded me of worship times in ourContinue reading “Church discipline: Our four heads were smacked together like Dominoes.”

Sixth grade: Green bell bottom pants and a three-legged dog.

The lessons I remember from childhood are lessons from relationships, not from textbooks or math scores. When I was in sixth grade, a couple dozen of neighborhood kids ages six-to-twelve spent our days in and out of each other’s yards, playing softball and tag, and hitting each other with sticks. On summer evenings, when theContinue reading “Sixth grade: Green bell bottom pants and a three-legged dog.”

The strength to get up: Lessons I’ve learned from sledding.

I love snow! When I was a kid we rode snowmobiles at an uncle’s farm one winter. I remember flying through the snow and hitting bumps that would knock whoever was in the back (usually me) into a drift, only to be found later when the person driving thought to turn around. For fun closerContinue reading “The strength to get up: Lessons I’ve learned from sledding.”

Like a ten-year-old child, I want what I want when I want it.

When I was a kid I had a bit of a temper. Nothing extreme, just occasional outbursts of anger that I usually resolved by kicking a cat or banging my head against a wall. What initiated those ourbursts? Typically they were a by-product of either not getting my own way (I want what I wantContinue reading “Like a ten-year-old child, I want what I want when I want it.”

Silly Sally and the tricycle: The long good-bye

Saying “good-bye” to relatives is awkward, especially if you like them. And the feeling after the good-bye is dull, almost numb, inside. When I was five years old, my mom, my three brothers, and I took a long trip to Rhode Island to see Mom’s relatives for an extended visit. It was a fun vacationContinue reading “Silly Sally and the tricycle: The long good-bye”

Fair Maiden quietly spit up her Cheerios during the choir’s special song.

One of our first Christmases as parents was spent in Florida with my in-laws. We were to enjoy a Florida tradition on Sanibel Island: A simple, quiet Christmas Eve service on the beach. However, as young parents, to guarantee “simple and quiet” required a LOT of preparation. I’m big into preparation. In fact, I’m oftenContinue reading “Fair Maiden quietly spit up her Cheerios during the choir’s special song.”

My brother would make irreverent motions and farting sounds during the best Christmas songs.

Back in THE DAY, kids of all ages and abilities were forced to be part of the church Christmas pageant. Even if the kid could neither sing nor act, or was in the habit of wetting him or herself in public, he or she was still part of the pageant. And, of course, being partContinue reading “My brother would make irreverent motions and farting sounds during the best Christmas songs.”

Dirty Santas and awkward gifts.

If played correctly, the Dirty Santa gift exchange is a hoot-and-half. The idea is that you bring prank gifts to your party and trade back and forth until you end up whacking everyone in the room and leaving with the coolest prank gift that you can then bring to another Dirty Santa party. A coupleContinue reading “Dirty Santas and awkward gifts.”

There’s nothing like having Baby Jesus jabbed up your nose to put you in the Christmas spirit.

When my brothers and I were kids there were two things we could always count on for Christmas: cologne and soap-on-a-rope from the Avon Lady (real name). The cool thing about cologne at age seven was the authentic artistic decanter it came in. My older brothers typically got cologne in guitar or car-shaped decanters, whileContinue reading “There’s nothing like having Baby Jesus jabbed up your nose to put you in the Christmas spirit.”

Making room. Why Grandma’s visits were never a pain.

Grandma would come and visit every couple of years or so when I was a kid. . . .   One day we all packed in the car and drove to the small regional airport and watched Grandma climb out of the plane onto the tarmac.  There she was in with red hair sticking out ofContinue reading “Making room. Why Grandma’s visits were never a pain.”