Five Minute Friday

How to Turn a Burden into Blessing

A Turn in the Trail The trail twists and makes another turn, I lift my eyes, hoping to see the narrow, wooden building perched on the edge of a cliff. Three-mile resthouse seems further away than the sign had promised when I left Indian Garden. I leaned on my hiking poles, hoping to ease the load on my legs by doing some of the work with my arms. When the building came into view, I heaved a sigh of relief…

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How to Release Racism From Your Life

Release. Relinquish. Give up. A furor on the campus of a small Christian university has brought home, once again, the power of ignorance to hurt and shame others. The scenario? Five students with facial masks (apparently charcoal masks), had their photo snapped. The owner of the phone posted the photo on Snapchat and added the university’s logo filter and the hashtag #PrettyHurts as well as the word Wakanda. Racist or ignorant? Overt racism or an innocent moment wrongly interpreted by…

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What Happens When You Settle for a Theory Without Investigation?

Never Settle for a Lack of Knowledge The whole Flat Earth Theory started me thinking about how, throughout history, people have espoused theories without testing them for truth—and ended up hurting other people. Take the theory that North America only had a few people living on it in the 1400s and needed a new race to settle and tame the land. I learned that theory back in grade school, and nothing in my high school or college classes taught me…

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A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging

Note: Clicking on the picture of the book will take you to Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate. NetGalley sends me advanced digital copies of these books in exchange for my honest opinion on their website. I only feature books that I really love on my blog. Meeting a Memoir Author We all long for belonging. When we read memoirs, intimate, personal stories that manage to feel universal, we often end up wishing to meet the author. I’ve often wished…

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Five Routines to Deepen Your Spiritual Life

Routines Build Relationships Face it, without routines in relationships, the relationship would slowly dry up. Back in the days before Internet, when Pedro and I first started dating, we wrote to each other on a daily basis during the long summers we spent apart. Those letters represent a routine of communication that built our relationship. We didn’t write flowery poems or repeat the same sentiment over and over again. We just shared with each other how our day had gone,…

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The Perfect Prescription for Tired

What Wears Me Out Tired creeps into my bones. Projects. Meetings. Frustrating reports that I have to do and re-do because the manual doesn’t give clear instructions. Grading papers. More meetings. Preparing for classes, but always just one step ahead of the students. Did I mention meetings? People wear me out. Cold, dry days and freezing, dark nights march across the calendar. An occasional stunning sunrise breaks the monotony. Pink and gold fluffy sunsets yield no rain, though. The lawn…

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Beauty Lurks in Unexpected Places

Beauty Lurks Beauty lurks in unexpected places hoarfrost springs from a shriveled red berry beneath a subzero sky Beauty hovers at wood’s edge speckled fawn twitching elegant ears, blinks slowly in dappled sunshine. Beauty hides behind dark clouds sunrise stretches fingers out across the water filled with snowy geese. Beauty peeks from angry eyes, of a girl too young to carry life’s burdens on slender shoulders, itching to escape Beauty manifests hope as a young man reaches out a hand…

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Why is the World So Full of Violence?

Why is the World So Full of Violence? The second month of 2018 has only reached its halfway mark, and already five schools have come under attack. Gun-wielding people bent on violence and destruction steal the innocence of children and communities. Why? I confess that as a teacher who works with traumatized children, I often wonder if when this could happen to me. They say that hurt people hurt people. And traumatized people traumatize people. I wonder what I would…

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The Incredible Responsibility of Privilege

Camping on the School Lawn? “Mr. Ojeda gave me permission to camp on the school lawn over home leave,” one of my students declared earlier today. “Ha!” I responded. “I don’t think so.” The sentiment behind the fib catches my breath tonight as I ride down the road, our RV trailing behind us, to enjoy a few days of camping in a warmer climate. My student wanted to stay on campus rather than go home for four days. I grew…

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Five Tips for Building a Good Relationship with NetGalley

My Good Intention to Buy Fewer Books For years, my husband has chided me for the amount of money I spend on books, and the book cases necessary to house my collection. When we moved in 2013, I donated hundreds of books to the library. Only my favorites made the move to Arizona. I had every intention to purchase fewer books (it helped that browsing in the closest Christian bookstore required a three-and-a-half hour drive). Our first year here, I…

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