Why I still keep going to church

When I was a kid I loved going to church. I loved the candy they gave me in Sunday School and loved the high-tech demonstrations like chalk talks and flannel graphs. I loved potluck dinners and church picnics. I loved most of the people, even though some of them creeped me out at times. I…

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 the…

How the Polar Vortex changed my week.

I felt a little anxious yesterday and I’m not sure why. Maybe because the weekend was busy. Maybe it was because the “polar vertex” (the media’s term for cold weather from Canada) was moving down south again so I nearly died jogging outside in the morning. Or, maybe it’s because I had no idea what…

A lesson from MLK Jr: Do justice or be love?

The first time I was ever involved in any kind of protest was when I was a sophomore in college. Our dormitory was notorious for vandalism and that year it had escalated to such a degree that the director of campus housing made a drastic ruling: No current students living in the dormitory could return…

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 closer…

Blog on: Sunday rest on the worst of Mondays.

When I was in elementary school, Mom made the world’s best fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy for Sunday lunch. After filling ourselves so full we could barely walk, we hung around the house for the rest of the day. We played quiet games and whacked each other with soft sticks, because if we woke…

The carnival ride: What vomiting on others taught me about grace.

One sunny summer day when I was about ten years old, my brother Spartacus, a neighbor kid, and I walked to the town carnival. Upon arrival we arm-wrestled to see who would choose the first ride. After great embarrassment on my part, it was decided that the first ride for all of us (unknowingly, the…

In my attempt to show kindness, I almost committed a drive-by.

My wife, Princess Bride, is very good at buying the right gifts for family members on birthdays and holidays. The reason she does such a great job is because she asks people what they would like beforehand. I don’t like to know ahead what people want because for me it takes the mystery and surprise…

Tending Paradise: Why Monday doesn’t have to suck.

On the first day of school each fall, my teachers would have us draw a picture (lots of fun) or write an essay (not nearly as much fun) called “How I Spent My Summer.” We didn’t vacation when I was a kid, so while others were drawing paradise pictures of plane rides to Hawaii I…

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 want…

New Year’s Resolutioners beware: Don’t read today’s blog.

Even the good things I add to my schedule can potentially become time-suckers. Time-suckers are the things I waste time on — the things that after three hours I ask myself, “What have I done all day?” I’m not dissing rest; the Bible clearly emphasizes the importance of rest and Americans are often guilty of…

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 vacation…

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 couple…

Big Ugly Truck Guy parked illegally in a mini-me lot.

Why does it matter to me where Big Ugly Truck Guy (his real name) parks? I typically stop at Starbucks 3-4 days a week on my way to work and purchase a tall (not the real size) dark roast coffee. “No room for cream and may I have a ‘stopper,’ please?” The barista (coffee person)…