We need to talk

Last year, a couple whom I love dearly asked to sit with me and speak about how my stance on certain topics has affected them. Preparation for that meeting was stressful and chaotic. I’m not sure I presented my best self during the discussion, but it has been worth it. Intimacy cannot survive without painful discussions. Relationships sometimes can, but they will lose depth. Have you ever needed to bring a difficult subject up with someone? Whether you eagerly meet conflict head-on, or you avoid it to your own detriment—there are times when you must speak with someone. Approaching someone to convict them of sin Approaching someone to tell them how they’ve hurt you Approaching someone to confess your own click to continue reading…

Subjectively Speaking

I have a memory of standing next to my grandmother in church and hearing her sing. She didn’t have an especially pleasant voice, but I found comfort in the sound. (To this day, I am more apt to sing out loud in corporate worship if someone nearby is singing imperfect and loud.) There are several phrases from old hymns that bring the image of her right into my mind. It gives me a special affinity for hymns. I’ve been thinking about both hymns and her lately, and wondered if it’s because I’m aging. Older generations seem to prefer hymns, and I used to assume that when you aged, you returned to the songs you first experienced with God. Sort of click to continue reading…

Creating Teams Through Gossip

I’ve been slowly working my way through a book titled Raising the Perfect Child through Guilt and Manipulation by comedian Elizabeth Beckwith. It’s ranting, witty, and irreverent. (If you have a problem with bad language it isn’t for you.) From the beginning of the book she sets down the foundation of raising your kids this way. You create a strong sense of “Us Versus Them.” She gives all kinds of suggestions to do this. For example, point out people who are showing behavior you don’t want your kids to do, and specifically mention how they are outside your inner circle. Hilariously, you reinforce with your child that you are proud of them for not doing it…and that they are inside click to continue reading…

A Vulnerable God

At first, the idea of being vulnerable seems negative. You might even picture helpless and defenseless, like a bug wiggling on its back. Its legs finding only air. Last year my writer’s group discussed vulnerability as the only way to be authentic in writing. Everyone says they want to read authentic writing, and see authentic posts…but what we want is more than a picture without makeup or someone telling a secret. One of my critique partners recommended The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown because she said if you protected yourself–then you could neither let truth out, or love in. Pretty bold statement, so I rented it from my library and listened to it. Then I did it again. It click to continue reading…

There’s a hole in my bucket list, dear Liza

I never made a bucket list. I don’t know if I ever will, but it isn’t because I don’t want to be prepared to die. Last year I celebrated American citizenship with a woman from Iraq by buying her lunch. She turned her palms up to pray for our meal. Her prayer was simple, “God, I open my hands to whatever you want to give me.” I stared at her instead of my bowl, I wasn’t sure I could eat. She had been through so many trials–she was still enduring ramifications while we shared our soup and a sandwich. Still, she was more open to whatever God wanted to give her than I was. Last night a friend told me click to continue reading…