Five Minute Friday

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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Six Ways to Simplify Your Mornings

Night Owl or Early Bird? Do you love to wake up before the sun? Maybe you prefer to stay cocooned under the covers until the last minute. Either way you can simplify your morning routine so that you’ll have more time for what you love best. Personally, I enjoy waking up before everyone else and having quality quiet time. But getting up early doesn’t insure that I’ll have time alone if I don’t take a few steps to simplify my…

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The Things that Motivate Me to Leave My Comfort Zone

Can a Bird Motivate Me? “There’s a rare bird in Anchorage,” I said. Pedro rolled his eyes. “It’s a hawfinch,” I explained. “They live in Europe.” Pedro may have sighed AND rolled his eyes. “I suppose you want to go look for it?” I grinned. “Absolutely! While you hang out with Laura, Louis, and Abel, I’ll just pop into Anchorage and pick up some things at Costco and look for the bird.” “What about the weather?” he asked. “No snow…

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What If? A Different Kind of Story

What If? If Jesus came to earth as a baby now, how different the story would be. Jesus, born to an unwed mother living in the projects. Would Mary post a selfie on Instagram with the hashtag #youwontbelievewhatjusthappenedtome #imagonnaglorifythelord just moments after Gabriel leaves her tiny, top-floor apartment? Imagine Mary trying to convince her family these days that the “Holy Spirit overpowered me, and I’m pregnant with the Son of God.” Nope. Not a single soul would understand. In a…

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The Only Decorations You Need This Christmas

If Only My House Looked Like That! I clicked the link to visit my neighbor at a recent blog party and felt as if I’d entered an alternate universe. The blogger had thrown up some photos of her house and the decorations she had lovingly arranged for the Christmas season. This gal LOVES Christmas decorations. Each of her nine Christmas trees (yep—you read that correctly) would make Martha Stewart weep with joy (or envy). I did a mental inventory of…

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What Should You do When Disaster Lurks Near?

Disaster Might Lurk Nearer Than You Ever Imagined Three years ago, I never would have imagined that disaster stalked. Sure, I knew Sarah, our youngest daughter, struggled with depression and an eating disorder. But I didn’t know how near disaster lurked. Back then, my knowledge of mental illness could fit within 140 characters. Today, I could write a book. Sure, I’d heard about things like schizophrenia and psychosis. Mania was something that people back in the 60s experienced when the…

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The Familiar Sizzle of Lefse Makes the Holidays Rich

Lefse The familiar soft sizzle of lefse hitting the hot skillet grabs my attention. I stand outside of my parents’ trailer under a shade canopy. The sun’s rays still reach my legs below my knees as I take my turn at the propane stove. My mom forms walnut-sized balls of dough and Sarah learns how to roll the lefse out to an even thickness and correct size. My mouth waters in anticipation. For the first time ever, we prepare our…

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Ignorance is no Excuse

Ignorance is no Excuse I have no excuse. Last week I stood on my soap box and railed against the church at large—especially those churches or congregations that pulpit-shame the mentally ill. I have a darker side to my story. While I don’t have a pulpit from which to shame those struggling with a mental illness, I HAVE used Christianity to shame someone. Even worse, I shamed my own daughter. I have no excuse. Other than I had no idea.…

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