Meet the spermophilus—you may already know it

I met a spermophilus in our backyard the other day; literally, “seed eater.” A thirteen-striped ground squirrel, also called a thirteen-liner, among other names. The tiny mammal scampered back and forth between a hiding spot beside three ceramic frogs and the seed-strewn area under the birdfeeder. I wandered over as …

Simple words for a complicated world

One day, God willing and should the earth last so long, our grandchildren will tell their children that they lived through COVID-19, just as elderly survivors of other pandemics and deadly diseases, have spoken of it to their children and grandchildren. Stories of hardship, of fear and faith and frailty. …

Ancient words for a new crisis

 An embarrassing truth confronts us all. We first-world emperors have no clothes after all. Reassurances of our own lordship, the thoughts that have clothed most of us for most of our lives (we are what we make of ourselves, unconquerable, masters of our own destiny, no God necessary) have toppled …

Jesus took our punishment – but sin’s consequences are our own

“Nana,” my youngest grandbean started, as he, his sister and I sat enjoying lunch together. He followed that with a question that stopped my fork mid-air. My mind flew back to the day before, to a matter I thought finished. But clearly, the little chap had a cog blocking one …

Collecting hearts, tending hearts

I sometimes use a heavy clay pot as a doorstop. A pot full of hearts. “Hey, Nana, here’s another one!” The grandbeans offer their outstretched hands, fingers curled around the latest treasure. A heart of stone.  Another one for our collection. We’ve found them on walks, the children and I, …

Not all of us have lost the gentle art of kindness

“Since the takeover by ‘smart’ technology,” I heard an authority on human behavior say recently in an interview, “the quality of kindness is now perceived as being indicative of a weak personality.” The man gave examples that seemed to prove his statement. He followed that by saying that our smart devices …

Shopping or seeking?

Sitting pretty atop elephant, camel and stallion, the three Seekers navigate the perimeter of my living room. For the last two months, those three ceramic magi have migrated (with a little help) from surface to surface. They’re at the south end of the piano now. Still seeking; looking steadily skywards.  …

Jesus – the best gift to give and receive

Music and lights, family, food and fellowship…Christmas washes over the land like a warm sigh. But the experience of Christmas changes as one ages. Gifts with my name on the tag took top spot in my earliest memory. Things shifted when I realized that Christmas meant giving as well; that …

Merry Christmas – or Happy Holidays?

I’m sorry. That’s all I can say to those who feel the joy has been sucked from their Christmas because they’ve encountered less-than-charitable Christians who stridently insist everyone use the phrase “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays.” What disturbs me most about that is that from what I’ve observed, the …

Enter Hope. Bring whatever you carry.

Thirty-six square feet. Nestled near our clothesline cross, under a towering maple, my tiny backyard retreat stands tall in the snow; a startling slash of crimson on an unblemished canvas. A tangible, colossal exclamation mark. The odd building with the duncecap roof and the screened lift-up sides sits just a …

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