• center, clematis center, flower center, purple clematis, purple clematis with white center
    Christian Life,  Faith,  Mental Health,  Pandemic

    The Center

    Like storm clouds gathering, I felt the darkness creeping in the last couple of weeks. I fought hard to stave it off. Yet, it’s a battle I wage from time to time.  Just as I sensed clarity and brightness in my well-being, the world fell victim to COVID-19. Each day’s news included escalating numbers of cases and staggering deaths. No treatment, no vaccine, no real plan for a pandemic. I began to read and listen.   It is a topic hard to push aside. My best try was to take time off from social media and online news. And yet what I’m trying to ignore seeps in.    On May…

  • April, Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Woodburn Tulips, tulips, flowers, tractor
    Christian Life,  Faith,  Seasons

    Not the April I Expected

    No, this is not the April I expected. And it’s likely not the April you expected either.    We looked forward to March Madness, an indicator April and spring training are ahead. Golf fans looked forward to the Masters Tournament at Augusta and a chance to see Amen Corner. We wanted to go to church on Easter Sunday. People planned outings to Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (see image above) for the 2020 Tulip Festival. Sorry, folks, not this year.   This is the first time I can remember Holy Week when we haven’t gathered at our church on Maundy Thursday. Nor gather on Good Friday to commemorate the crucifixion of…

  • desert. blossoms, purple flowers
    Christian Life,  Faith,  Reflections

    Joy in the Time of COVID-19

    I did not intend to use the COVID-19 label in my post title, because you have heard enough about the virus without my adding it to headlines. Yet this was the catchiest title I could come up with today.  One item Bob and I have on our daily calendar is our time for morning devotional and prayers. In recent days, we’ve been following Henri Nouwen. The daily meditation is waiting in our inbox before we get up and out of bed. It’s been a good day starter for us. Yesterday’s meditation seemed chosen specifically for this time of crisis for all of us. As we read it, I thought of…

  • Christian Life,  Words

    Whisper

    Whisper is an intriguing word. It’s a word that can mean more than the soft, hushed undertones of the voice. For example, the dahlia above is faintly colored, somewhat hushed and faded, with a whisper of pink.   On Sunday, a guest pastor shared the morning’s message of Pentecost with our children. She asked a couple of questions, both answered by the same little girl. Margo is about four, one of three children in a family where both parents are teachers. Needless to say, a lot of learning goes on in her home.   As I listened, it was difficult to hear Margo’s soft, quiet tones as she answered the…

  • Christian Life,  Faith,  Music,  Sunday

    Musical Sunday

    First things first on Sundays. Once awake and with my feet under me, I prepare breakfast. It’s simple and quick. I have other tasks to do before leaving for church.   This Sunday is special as it’s musical from beginning to end.   At church, we expect the sounds of our Children’s Choir. Hearing these young voices is always a joy-filled experience. Children present the fresh and unadulterated faith we all should carry in our hearts.   Under the direction of a talented young man, the children sing a new arrangement of Down by the Riverside. Our choristers range in age from kindergarten through grade school. Their abilities follow the same range.…

  • Book Review,  Christian Life,  Memoir,  Religion,  Social Issues,  Spiritual Growth

    Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith by D.L. Mayfield | Book Review

    Before beginning this book review, I want to point out that my scheduling of this book for review was well in place before the Executive Order signed on Friday, January 27, 2017, went into effect. However, Divine Providence likely knew of the events to come, and as D.L. Mayfield's memoir shares the author's experiences working with and living among refugees and immigrants in my hometown, Portland, Oregon, it is definitely a good time to look at what Mayfield's thoughts and reactions are to her experiences