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Showing posts from January, 2014


It was 10:00 on an August morning.  I had just sat through my first college lecture with my twin sister by my side—roommates, sisters, and students pursuing the same degree.  Dr. Ausband dismissed the class, and then pointed to us and said, “Could you two stay after for a minute?”
We had never gotten in trouble at school, and we were being asked to stay after our very first college class ever?!
When the room emptied, Dr. Ausband asked where we had completed our freshman years of college.  We explained it was our freshman year of college, and that we had AP credit for freshman English.  Then he asked, “Where did you go to high school?”
“Powhatan?  Where is that?”
We explained the place that had been home since we were six-years-old, the town about an hour west of Richmond.
Dr. Ausband replied, “I’ve never heard of Powhatan before.  But I won’t forget it.  I’ve never seen two students so prepared for this sophomore English course; I wouldn’t have guessed you were just out of high …

Come Thou Fount

I’m not good at having nothing to do.
I’m very good at getting stuff done.
“Just sit and relax,” is much harder to hear than, “I have a big, stressful job for you.”
As I’ve transitioned roles at church over the last year, I’ve become more hands off of the hard work that gets done day-to-day, and my arms now stretch widely over large areas of ministry that extend across our four campuses. 
I first experienced this change last fall as I sat in my living room recliner while a team of adults and students prepped a bonfire event at the church—a mile from my home.  It was horrible.  I held my kids on my lap and hugged them tightly, because my muscles needed something to do, and I needed a reminder that I still had important work to do.  Not being there was much harder than being there.  Sitting at home itching to be there was much harder than running around like an Energizer bunny with an adrenaline shot for three hours. 
Tonight was similar.  Tonight I simply attended a fundraiser for a stude…

Spain Fundraiser

I’m just home from a fundraiser at church.  Next summer a team of students is traveling to Spain where they’ll teach conversational English in schools and follow-up with the Spanish students in the evenings for further conversation, hopefully about God.  Tonight that team hosted a Variety Show complete with dinner catered, in part, by Carrabba’s, lots of gift basket raffles, and unbelievable talent. 
I’ve been part of lots of fundraisers for student mission trips, so I authoritatively deem tonight’s fundraiser a success!  Jackie Heberle and Erik Edwards led, like always, with humility and servants’ hearts.  Their love of God, students, and missions was evident in the way they interacted with the large crowd that showed up tonight.  Speaking of that crowd, what a great turnout of support for our Spain mission team!  I was thrilled that our students could tangibly see, in the room full of people, how much support there is for them, their spiritual journeys, and their upcoming tangible j…

2013 and 2014

Here's my expected, conventional, beginning-of-a-new-year blog post:

2013 was a good year.
My kids reached ages when, for the first time, I could genuinely utter the cliché, “I wish they could stay this age forever.”  They are fun, articulate, kind, and loving kids—showering me with more love than I deserve.  When Tristan was 2-years-old, I wanted him to stay that age forever.  Then I had a baby, and life and parenting became overwhelming.  But now, I have two little people who are increasingly independent.  They have ideas, concerns, and dreams.  They are aware of, and compassionate toward, the people around them.  I still want to pull out my hair occasionally, but less often than a year or two years ago, and I find delight in my kids.
My marriage strengthened, and we re-connected.  We still fight for adult conversation and quality time amid young kids and full-time jobs, but we’re surrounded by a great support system of people who love our kids and believe in our marriage.  Like th…


With.  This small word is a preposition.  It’s not exciting like a verb or descriptive like an adjective.  It’s just a preposition—a puny part of speech.  Often we don’t even take the time to write out all four letters of the word; a “w” and a “/” suffice. 
And yet…
With is powerful.
        Sitting with someone as they cry, mourn, or die.
        Being with a woman as she births a baby.
        Promising with the love of your life before God, family, and friends.
        Being intimate with your husband or wife.
With describes and defines monumental life moments. 
With also describes and defines Christmas.  Immanuel, God with us, is why we celebrate.  We have a God who came to earth as a baby to be with us—in our vulnerability, in our dependency, in our pain and agony, even in our mundane moments.
Jesus was on this earth with humanity for a little over thirty years.  A few of those thirty years were remarkable, but most of them were likely mundane.  He worked—honest, hard work with his hand…