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Passionate

I’m passionate about football. I especially favor the SEC teams, of course, and our struggling Tennessee Titans and all things Manning. But really, any team will do. Many of the best fall and winter hours are those I get to spend curled up in front of the fire watching a good football game. Add a

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A Meal for a Prayer

The warm and fuzzy video, captured by a customer’s cell phone, went viral. It showed an encounter between a manager at a popular fast food restaurant known for its foundation on Christian principles and an apparently homeless young man. Or at least one in need of food. The manager immediately said yes to the man’s

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Stages Big and Small

The Super Bowl is one of professional sports’ biggest stages, and Sunday offered the chance for a performance of a lifetime. Sure, there were many noteworthy moments, especially the routines of the Denver defense. As the game went on, though, I became more focused on the human element on display. Peyton Manning captured the most

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Tending the Fire

Since childhood I’ve always loved a wood fire. The English Tudor house where I grew up had an enormous stone fireplace, and I remember warming my toes in front of the sooty mesh screen. During my teens and college years my dad owned a 1860s era restored Southern mansion, and the fireplace in the kitchen

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Trilogy of Thanksgiving

Bethesda Workshops refers to these posts as “Encouragement Emails,” and as some of you have noticed, I haven’t written one for weeks. My spirit has been too burdened and distressed to write – or to write something that is publishable, at least. Life is difficult, as M. Scott Peck said succinctly. Indeed, it often is,

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At a Standstill

In all fairness, I had some warning there was a problem on the road ahead. A flashing sign at the edge of the dark interstate alerted motorists to tune to a certain radio frequency for “Important Travel Information!” I ignored it, of course, since I knew there was significant bridge construction ahead that for years

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Lessons from Little Ones – Part 2

The last blog shared some insights I learned from our adorable little grandsons during a lengthy time of being responsible for them while their parents were enjoying an anniversary trip. The little guys taught me things like we all need our person – our go-to safe haven; it’s good to indulge often in healthy play;

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A Small Fire, A Huge Destruction

The scene looked like something out of a movie: two huge firetrucks and a dozen firefighters milling around. It took me a minute to realize I didn’t see smoke streaming into the sky and there weren’t any huge firehoses snaking into the building. Regardless, the atmosphere felt clearly serious. About 20 minutes earlier I had

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Lessons from Little Ones

For almost two weeks recently David and I were full-time caregivers for our little grandsons: Jim, age five and Liam, age 2. Their parents, our daughter EA and son-in-love Chris, were enjoying a trip to Italy for their tenth wedding anniversary. That’s right, Italy, not somewhere a mere couple of hours away! And yes, I

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Reaching for the Toothpaste

So much of life is automatic. There’s something to be said about just going through the motions. It greatly simplifies daily living when you don’t have to think through every next step. Sometimes it’s fine to do what you’ve always done, because it works to get what you’ve always gotten. Like brushing your teeth, for

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Love Wins!

Some things are beyond my ability to get my mind around. They’re just too horrible, too egregious, too unbearable to absorb. My first knowledge that something horrific had happened in Charleston, SC, came from my son-in-law’s Facebook post: “God be with the devastated people of Charleston. Kyrie eleison.” To be honest, I wondered if I

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Suffocating Overload

Recently, I dutifully kept a semi-annual appointment to get my teeth cleaned, and when I positioned myself in the dentist’s chair (an uncomfortable, vulnerable place to start with) I was assaulted with a blanket of the previous patient’s perfume. The hygienist assured me she had wiped down the surfaces, and she quickly did that again.

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American Pharoah – A Winner!

A Winner! When thoroughbred American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes, I whooped so loudly our arthritic Lab struggled to her feet in alarm. The beautiful bay colt with a faint white star on his forehead and fire in his distinctively long-striding feet had done it: after a 37 year drought, Pharoah had become only the

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Being Found

“To have and to hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.” Brides and grooms take their vows with sweet sincerity and joyful anticipation. With eyes bright as diamonds, they pledge their devotion and dance to their dreams. Our family rejoiced last weekend in our son’s marriage

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A Robin’s Message

A robin has built a nest in the angle of the downspout outside our garage door. It’s not a good spot, because the sound of the heavy automatic door startles her every time it opens or shuts, and the people door right under her nest is equally disturbing. She’s been a persistent builder, because twice

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Cleaning the Filter

We call it Lake Ferree – the enormous above ground pool we installed a few years ago. For me, the expanse of glistening water is a picture of heaven. There are few things I enjoy more than swimming laps, and even when the water is too cold to be comfortable, I don a wetsuit and

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Strength for the Journey

As part of a process of spiritual direction, I’ve been focusing on scriptures about the love of God, and for a couple of weeks I keep returning to 1 Kings 19: 1-9. It’s a familiar story from my childhood Sunday school days about the prophet Elijah fleeing for his life from an angry queen Jezebel.

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Tending to Your Foundation

Jesus’ story about building houses and their foundations has recently been fleshed out in bricks and mortar, in earthen cellars and rotten wood thanks to a new old house our son bought the end of the summer. Built in the early 1900s, the house is the kind that takes vision, perseverance and money. At this

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For Love of Family

Family has been on my mind a lot lately. Our son is getting married in a few weeks to a young woman whom David and I adore, and we couldn’t be happier for them. All the wedding preparations bring memories of weddings past – our daughter’s wedding 10 years ago and our own 34 years

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Clenched Teeth

After examining the tooth I had chipped for the third time in less than two years, the dentist asked if I might be grinding my teeth. I admit I was a bit offended. However, based on the hundreds of dollars and hours of dental work required to thrice fix the injured tooth, the other reasonable

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The Exhaustion of Control

“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) I’ve long been someone who thrived on being in control. (I just preferred to view it as part of my organized nature). There’s an element of my controlling that is, indeed, helpful. It makes me good at my

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Choosing Love

On Valentine’s Day the culture focuses on the idealized nature of romantic love, which is surely a positive counterpoint to the usual media fodder of fifty shades of betrayal and breakup. The hearts and flowers, though, emphasize love as a feeling instead of love as an action. It’s more important to choose love, I think, than to

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What is Your Vision?

“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.” (Jer. 29: 11) Bethesda Workshops was blessed recently to take part in a guided Visioning Retreat for our board of directors and some others closely associated with the ministry. The facilitator led us to think first about what we’re doing well – what is working

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The Freedom of Forgiveness

Paul has reminded us that bitterness will destroy relationships and that we are to continually remove it from our lives. As you progress in your recovery and learn to live in continual conscious connection to God, bitterness is replaced by kindness and compassion toward others. The process of this transformation is forgiveness. Forgiveness is never

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