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When the World Passes By

Peony blossoms overhanging the flagstone path brushed against my leg as I pushed the lawn mower to the front yard. Their sweet spicy scent permeated the air. I paused to inhale a deep breath. Daily cares drifted away with their pleasant fragrance.

Basking in the moment, I remembered 2 Corinthians 2:15 that says, "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." (NKJV). ...Read more


Valentine Getaway

A mystery ensued when Loren scheduled five days off work in mid-February. He preferred vacations in late spring and summer, never the middle of winter. As weeks passed with no mention of vacation I was sure he intended to surprise me with a romantic getaway. One morning I tried to crack his secret. "What are the plans for February?"

Loren grabbed another muffin. "Nothing yet."

"Come on." I laughed giving him a playful smile. "I know something's up. You took off Valentine's." ... Read more


The Challenge

In the middle of making lemon meringue pie one day, I discovered I was out of cream of tartar. I scoured the cupboard for the short red-topped container, necessary for the meringue to make nice stiff peaks. A few minutes later I poked my head into the garage where my husband sanded a wood chess board he was building. "I've got to run to the store. I'll be right back."

At the store I located the key ingredient in the spice rack on the baking aisle and hurried to the register to make my purchase. Standing in the shortest of the two checkout lines, I glanced at my watch.

A woman in front of me with a ten-year-old boy dug through her purse for enough money to cover her groceries. The clerk acted like she had all day, while I took a deep breath, glanced again at my watch, and waited. ... Read more


Bye Bye Barista

James prepared a vanilla steamer while my husband, Loren, relayed details of our recent road trip following the Oregon Trail.

"Hi guys," Kathryn said tying on her apron, getting ready for the day's work at our favorite bookstore café. Stepping closer, she leaned over the counter where I stood waiting for my tea and lowered her voice. "Because you two are long-time customers, I wanted to let you know that August second will be my last day."

"Really?" No doubt my expression revealed shocked disbelief. "Where are you going?" Read more


A Heart Restored

The front door banged open. Breathless, my two youngest children, Joe and Bethany rushed in. "Mom. Mom. Ben's in trouble. Come quick." I plunked down my tea cup and grabbed my purse. Houses flashed by as we drove several blocks. Bethany pointed to a grassy lot off Main Street. "He's over there." The car lurched to a stop. I leaped out and rocketed toward a jeering mob of high-school kids.

A blonde-haired sixteen-year-old boy jumped in front of me. Inches from my face, he launched into a slew of profanity. Two kids darted from the scene. A red pickup peeled onto the grass. The driver yelled, "Come on. We gotta get out of here." Amidst a squeal of tires he roared off.

I dodged through a crowd of a dozen or more kids running away, until I spotted my fourteen-year-old son. Ben lay motionless on the ground ... Read more


A Heart Full of Questions

Like a thread beneath a closed doorway, faith pulled me along a path of unanswered questions throughout my childhood.

My family's assorted Christmas decorations sparked the first big inquiry. The scent of Douglas fir filled the air while we unpacked ornaments in the living room by the tree. My brother retrieved his favorite decoration from a cardboard box. Perched atop a world globe sat a silver biplane flown by none other than Santa. But it was me who always set out our tiny nativity. ...Read more


Reluctant Volunteer

A hand reached through the crowd in the church foyer and touched my shoulder. I turned to see Nancy, one of our most devoted Sunday school teachers. Nancy loved to teach children about the Lord. I marveled at her enthusiasm and how she seemed to draw energy from her class of five-year-olds.

"Hi Kathy, I need to take this summer off and wondered if you could step in for one month?" ...Read more


What's On God's List?

I hurried through the crowded grocery store. Exhausted from my long day of errands, this was my final stop. I tossed the mocha almond fudge ice cream into the cart and checked it off my list. I searched the front of the store, then squeezed in to the shortest of the mile-long checkout lines.

Why don't they have more people working? I grumbled to myself. Why didn't the lady at the register have her coupons ready? Can't this clerk move any faster; she's like watching a replay clip in slow motion? I just wanted to get home. ...Read more


Our Anxieties, His Comfort

I jolted awake in the darkness, my sleep disturbed by images from the evening news. A suicide bomber in Kabul, forty people dead, oil prices on the rise, heating bills higher this winter … these headlines give us pause, one more thing to stress about in the midst of our crowded days.

The clock read two a.m. as my thoughts crept toward worries closer to home. Now out of bed, I made myself a cup of tea. I opened my Bible and read where I'd left off that morning. Confronted by his own struggles, the Psalmist wrote, "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul," (Ps. 94:19 NKJ). ...Read more


The Package

I threw my arms around Mr. Grady giving him a tight squeeze. He blinked back tears, and let out a grumbled cough, uncomfortable by the display of emotion.

Every Wednesday for three years the seventy-six year old man walked eight blocks to my house. He sat in the warmth of my kitchen and sipped tea. We talked while I fixed him breakfast, scrambled eggs, light on the butter, but hold the salt, and a slice of toast. ...Read more


Moose Burgers for Breakfast

Seated for dinner, we bowed our heads and my husband, Loren, gave thanks for the meager can of beans divided between five plates.

"I want more," five-year-old Ben said. ...Read more


Treasure Seeker

That day our family was panning for gold at a nearby river. We sloshed into the water at the river's edge and positioned the sluice box, a grooved trough used for separating gold from sand and rocks.

My husband scooped in a shovelful of river bottom. Water flooded the box washing away weightless grains of sand. Dead leaves and twigs floated to the surface. We cleaned out the debris along with larger rocks and pebbles. We scoured the bottom of the trough for precious flakes of gold. ...Read more


Practical Encouragement for Sunday School Teachers

"I'd like all of our Sunday school teachers to come forward so we can pray for you," said Pastor Bruce. I watched as many from our congregation gathered at the front of the church. When he finished praying, our pastor said, "Please remember to pray for these people who are devoting their time to teach our children."

Working with children is not my area of giftedness so I knew these people needed extra prayer, but I knew I couldn't remember everyone's name. With a burst of inspiration, I decided to choose one person and pray for her regularly throughout the year. ...Read more