Holley Gerth

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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How to Rejoice in the Parched Places

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Isaiah 35:1 Lessons from the Dry Land We moved from Bozeman, MT to Holbrook, AZ almost five years ago. I confess I still miss the snowstorms, the months of cold weather, and the luscious flowers in the spring and summer. Maybe the native Montanans call it God’s country because they, like I, always feel a little closer to God in the wide-open spaces and majestic…

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A Car, a Truck, and a Lesson in Truth

The Scenario The truth? I feel a little sheepish and petty tonight. It all started when I realized that tomorrow we’ll have our last assembly of the school year. Which means that I had forgotten to print out the certificates for reading goals. I generated the certificates and left them to print while I checked our cupboards for supplies. Each student that earns a certificate gets invited to our house for a banana split after lunch. And the one black…

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The Rest of the Story: More Adventures Await

More Trouble and Destination Disappointment There’s more to last week’s story about my misguided adventure with a busload of students. After negotiating through an additional seven miles of bumpy dirt road, we came to a water crossing within sight of a paved road. This time, I stopped the bus and the boys hopped off and built up the banks of the road with more rocks BEFORE I attempted to drive over. When we finally turned onto a paved road, the…

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How to Avoid Jargon and Save Sheep

Sheep in Distress The children lined the steps at the front of the church, eager to hear the guest tell the children’s story. She spoke with a beautiful accent, but I groaned inwardly when I realized her topic. She told a story about a small boat in distress during a violent storm near the coast, and about the man who heard the SOS on his ham radio. “When the man called the Coast Guard to tell them about the SOS…

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Best Book of 2016? Impossible Question!

From Books to eReader I pressed my finger on the page of a book and waited. Puzzled, I wondered why the definition to the word under my finger hadn’t popped up yet. And then I realized what I had done. I sheepishly looked around the living room, hoping no one else had noticed that the book I held in my hands had actual pages. When I first started using a Kindle six or seven years ago, I never dreamed that an…

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Six Things You Can Do to Stop a Verbal Attack

Racist Attack at the Mall The video made the rounds of social media last week and I saw it a few days before Christmas. A woman in a Kentucky mall spies a shopper in line ahead of her taking a few small items that her friend had brought to the cash register and adding them to her purchase. We don’t know if the shopper at the register had forgotten something and sent her companion back to find the item. We don’t…

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