Nurture

What the Tangle of Texas Traffic Taught Me About Church

To all my Texan friends: I apologize in advance for anything I say that may sound as if I don’t like Texas or Texans. Please bear with me. I love Texans and any state that provides two new birds per day for my life list is an awesome place! Starbucks on the Right The first time I drove through a Texas city, I saw a Starbucks off the freeway. “Perfect!” I thought. “I need a late afternoon pick-me-up. I’ll just…

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Why Can’t I Find My Place at Church?

Finding My Place at the Five-Minute Friday Retreat I sniffed my pits before closing my car door and heading towards the place where we would register. I shrugged. Without facing the registration process, I wouldn’t receive a room key for the retreat. And until I had that room key in my hot and sweaty hand, I couldn’t shower. I’d have to go in smelling slightly ripe, covered in grime (birding is dirty business), and wild-haired. Once again, I found myself…

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Birder’s Paradise? Or Birding in Paradise

Texas in the Summer I clutched the dripping Gatorade bottle with one sweaty palm and unscrewed the cap with trembling fingers. They might call Texas a birder’s paradise, but it felt a little more…hotish, shall we say? For the past three hours, I had wandered the trails of Resaca de la Palma State Park—on a toasty 98˚ with 80 percent humidity July day. Most people enjoy the World Birding Center parks in the fall or spring. The weather turns balmy…

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The ‘Other Lessons’ that Inspire (aka, When We Don’t Get What We Want)

A Journey to Inspire Me The boat rocked back and forth as it rose and fell with the swells of the ocean. The deep blue of the water vied with the sky for my attention. On the horizon, thunderheads piled up between us and the receding shore line. I couldn’t wait to discover the secrets of the open ocean and let them inspire me in some creative way. The hot wind whipped my curls into my eyes. I didn’t bother…

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The Story of the Humble Milkweed and the Mighty Monarch

First the Monarch This post is prompted by the community I discovered at the Five Minute Friday Retreat this weekend. Thank you, each and every one of my new in real life friends! Egg. Caterpillar. Pupa. Butterfly. Metamorphosis. Ugly words, some of them. None of which describes the beauty of a monarch butterfly—orange, black, graceful, dancing, enduring, migrating. I first heard the story of the monarch the year I turned ten. Bursting outside the hot house into the hotter North…

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The Surprising Way to Find Comfort

Comfort, the Verb I step around the counter into my daughter’s kitchen and start fixing breakfast. A minute or two later, I hear an inquisitive “Bah?” from the living room. “Bah!” I answer. “Ahw!” The thunks of hands and knees on the wood floor increase in pace as Abel uses ‘echolocation’ to find me. I glance over and see his strawberry-blonde curls. His head bends down in concentration as he crawls into the kitchen, sits up, and turns in a…

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Rug Burn, Aching Joints, and other Hazards of Play

How to Play with a Baby “What happened to your knee?” my daughter Laura asked. I glanced down and noticed a red, raw spot on my left knee. “Carpet burn, I guess,” I answered with a shrug. “Abel and I have been racing up and down the hallway.” “Oh, you poor thing!” “Naw,” I replied, “anything to hear his cackle!” Therein lies the truth. I’ll do anything to get a two-toothed grin, a chortle, or a cackle out of my…

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To Receive a Blessing, be a Blessing!

Confession Time In the effort to practice full disclosure, you should know that I think of myself as a rather selfish person. I get single-minded in my plans and goals. Often, I only want to do something if I can see how it will benefit me in some way. I worry more about the blessing I might receive than blessing other people by showing up. I don’t enjoy visiting extended family members because I can only see the negative: The…

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Slow and Steady Wins All Kinds of Races (Even if You’re 94)

Race Ready The night of the Team in Training banquet on the eve of the San Diego Rock-n-Roll Marathon, I sat near the front with the Team Arizona members. An elderly lady with big glasses and bright red lipstick made her way to a table in the row away from me and sat down. I wondered if she attended as a guest of an athlete, or if she planned on running the following day. Imagine my shock when the emcee…

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Things I Didn’t Expect to Learn from Running a Marathon

My apologies to my FMF friends. I only had four lessons typed up at the end of my five minutes, but I kept on writing.  I won’t deny that I like unusual challenges and have a quirky sense of humor. So you won’t wonder at one of my choices for ‘fifty fun things to do in my fiftieth year’—run a marathon. I expect the majority of the population wouldn’t classify running for 26.2 miles as ‘fun.’ After completing my first…

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