Laugh a little, improve a lot

Gelotology—the study of laughter’s effects on the body—confirms the Biblical proverb about laughter being good medicine. Regular laughter lowers blood pressure, improves vascular blood flow and blood oxygenation. It exercises the diaphragm and abdominal muscles (among others), reduces stress hormones and increases tumour and disease killing cells. It also protects …

When Life’s Gusts Blow Sour

I adore fall, the golden “putting the place to bed for winter” season. All summer, nature gives fair warning: winter’s coming—prepare. In our yards and fields, that spells work: harvest, haul, dump, store, preserve. Bushels of still-green tomatoes, carrots and potatoes still wait in our garden. The gazebo, lawn furniture, …

The Difference: Caregiving vs. Maintaining

Most young families don’t need to make room for walkers, wheelchairs, leg braces and restraints. My parents did so, and willingly. All during my childhood, they welcomed both mentally and physically disabled foster children into our home. I called them sisters and brothers, though their presence sometimes confused me. “Mom, …

The thing prayer changes most

I made a big mistake recently, one that affected someone who trusts me not to do that. I discovered the error myself as I sat at my computer, reading an email. Horrified. Pondering consequences.     Even worse, I’d sat on that goof-up an entire month, not realizing it waited, a …

We’ve Joined a New Family

The Preacher and I rarely have nighttime conversations. But we had one a few weeks ago, after hours of simultaneous wakefulness. I addressed the mound next to me in the bed, the one outlined like a mountain in the moonlight. “Hon?” I whispered. The mound issued a grunt. “What if …

Testing Grows faith—Don’t Opt Out

I watch closely the tender growing things in our backyard garden, begun from seeds our grandbeans helped plant. But even more closely, I’m observing the spiritual formation of the Beans themselves. “Nana,” said one, during a recent–and thankfully, now over–health crisis. “How many people are praying for me?” From his days …