Nurture

Overlooking the Plain is Overlooking the Plan

A Plain Bird I spotted a bird sitting on the curb across from my house as I headed out the door for a run. Never one to miss a photo op with a bird, I ran back inside for my camera. I thought that perhaps the resident juvenile Cooper’s Hawk had dropped by for a visit. Focusing the lens, I called out to my youngest daughter. “Sarah!  It’s not my hawk, it’s a roadrunner!”  We took turns looking through the…

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Who do You Work For?

Work and Junk for Jesus I work at a mission school—in the United States. Three-fourths of our budget comes from generous donors who believe in what we do to bring hope and healing to Native American young people. Occasionally, though, we have to deal with Junk for Jesus. A friend of mine who worked at a hospital in Haiti for two years shared the term with me a few years ago as we compared mission stories. “When we arrived, they…

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Why I Failed to Raise my Kids

To Guide or to Raise, that is the Question I used to think that my husband and I would ‘raise’ our children. As if they had tender shoots and fragile roots and would produce a crop one day. We took a parenting class. I read books and prayed a lot. I learned to mean what I said, and not make threats I didn’t want to carry out. Parenting did not come easy for me. Raising kids required much more than…

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From Marathon to Puny in Three Months

My Puny Body I sucked in deep gulps of air, and kicked my foot out of my toe clips. Whew! That hill grew since the last time I rode up it, I thought. My gelatinous legs could barely support me as I dragged off my backpack and dug around for a protein bar. “Let’s go!” Pedro called out to the group of students in front of me, and they all took off down the trail. I continued to cram my…

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If Only God Would Speak

I realized that I haven’t explained the whole Five-Minute Friday thing at this blog for a long time. Every Thursday night, interested writers may log on to Twitter and search for the hashtag #fmfparty at around 6 PST. You may lurk, say hello, or just introduce yourself and the gang will strike up a conversation. About an hour after the party starts, our fearless leader, Kate Motaung, will announce the prompt for the week. Twitter falls silent as everyone rushes…

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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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