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The Perfect Gift

img_0195November and December are my kitty’s favorite months. Our tree goes up November 1. It might take a week or two to get all the ornaments up, but that red velvet skirt goes around the base right away, and she loves to lie on it. It’s also about nine feet tall, which means the base is about six feet wide, letting her get nice and deep under those branches. And then when we put the presents around, she can really hide.

Presents are tricky in my house. We have to use a code. We can’t just use regular to/from labels, or the wrapping would be opened at the ends, and boxes would be shaken within an inch of their lives. In previous years we’ve used a number derived from some combination of the letters in their names or their birthdays, like some kind of weird numerology. This year we tried …

Defend the Fatherless, part 3

pray-blog-13David Platt said, “Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”

Orphans face incredible life challenges. Orphans are more vulnerable to slave labor, suicide, violence, homelessness, lack of education, health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, and sex slavery.

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HOMELESSNESS: A study in Russia showed 40% of orphans who age out of the system were homeless. There are an estimated 150 million street children worldwide, who are not counted as orphans, most of whom may be double orphans.

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SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol and drug abuse is estimated at 60% among street kids. Russian orphans are 9-60 times as likely to have pre-natal alcohol exposure. 80% of kids in Ukraine are “social orphans,” abandoned by parents, often due to …

Defend the Fatherless, part 2

pray-blogSunday is Orphan Sunday.  The most important thing we can do to help solve the global orphan crisis is pray. We have no greater privilege than to talk to God.

We can ask Him to set the lonely in families, for justice, for safety, for provision. We can pray for lawmakers, providers, caregivers and counselors. We can talk to Him about children with parents who are sick and dying, for child-headed households, for mothers and fathers contemplating giving up their children, and children affected by war. For families who have room and resources to care for fatherless children, that He release and speed any care supplies to refugee camps, for those who mentor and teach orphans, for street children, and  for the health of orphans.

Orphans are more vulnerable to slave labor, suicide, violence, homelessness, lack of education, health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, and sex slavery.

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SEX TRAFFICKING: …

Defend the Weak and the Fatherless

os-profile-300x300November 13 is Orphan Sunday. This is a day we are called to give a voice to the fatherless, to remind the world that there is a global crisis. It’s also a day to remind the church that God commands us to to look after orphans and widows in their distress. ~James 1:27

Here are a few facts:

  • There are an estimated 150 million orphans worldwide.
  • That doesn’t include 150 million street children, 1.2 million trafficked children and tens of thousands of child-soldiers.
  • If all orphans formed their own country, it would be among the 10 largest nations in the world.
  • HIV/AIDS alone has orphaned 15 million children in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Every 2.2 seconds a child loses a parent somewhere in the world.
  • Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.
  • 250,000 children are adopted annually, that’s less than 1%.
  • 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of

It Doesn’t Matter Who Wins

Presidential elections in the United States. Vector illustration with the American flag on the background of chalkboards

Presidential elections in the United States. Vector illustration with the American flag on the background of chalkboards

In a little over two weeks, election day will be upon us. Many of us dread it. Some are still unsure of our vote.

We have an awful choice next month. One one side we have an arrogant pig of a man who may or may not protect my rights as a Christian while disrespecting me as a woman, and my children and friends as people of color and people not born here. On the other we have an equally arrogant woman, a proven liar, an elitist, and sworn to ensure Christians “change their deep-seated religious views.”

One thing I have come to believe: It doesn’t matter who wins.

Yes, many practical things will depend upon who will be sitting in that office come January. But on November 9, as well as on …

The Sparrow, the Robin and Two Trillion Galaxies

This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, shows a spiral galaxy named NGC 278. This cosmic beauty lies some 38 million light-years away in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia (The Seated Queen).

This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, shows a spiral galaxy named NGC 278. This cosmic beauty lies some 38 million light-years away in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia (The Seated Queen).

Yesterday NASA announced they’d been wrong for decades.

There aren’t 200 billion galaxies in the universe.

There are more like 2 trillion.

In the mid-1990s, astronomers arrived at the 200 billion figure with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Recently, however, a University of Nottingham team led by Christopher Conselice took another look.

They concluded that more than 90 percent of the galaxies can’t be seen by even our most powerful telescopes because they are too faint or too far away. The good news for you space fans? The even mightier James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to be ready by the end of the year.

So what …

Tyranny, Time and Trust

Sand flowing through an hourglass on black background concept for time running out

So it’s 9:53 pm and I’m writing tomorrow’s blog post.

I procrastinate. A lot.

Or maybe I just have four children. Everything that is not bleeding, hungry, crying, yelling, or broken gets pushed to the bottom of the list, and a blog post tends to be very quiet. Invisible, even.

Until I realize it’s Thursday night and something needs to be up in a couple hours.

“Schedule your time,” they say. Writers need to block out large chunks of time to write, rewrite, research, market, publicize … it would take all my time to do it right, and I only have a few hours a day. Once the kids come home from school, quiet time is over, and I am no longer in control.

Striking a balance is nearly impossible. I never get it right. One week I spend too much time writing, and the next I can’t manage to …

The Problem of Pain

pills in hand

pills in hand

I got a migraine last night—I don’t know how. I didn’t miss any of my doses of my preventive medicine, and there’s not a storm coming that I know of. But before the pain med kicked in I was literally in tears. The medicine will dull the throbbing but it will still last two or three days, and can make me sleepy. It’s difficult to think.

We in America tend to have a unique view of pain, whether emotional or physical. We want it gone, and we want it gone now. We don’t like it; we don’t deserve it. We are above it. We tend to believe all suffering is automatically bad and must be stopped. This is a distinctly American view, and a relatively recent one as well. Our forefathers didn’t think life came without pain or suffering, but somehow we’ve come to believe that. We …

Let Everything That Has Breath … Make Noise!

M

M is for movies. Specifically chick flicks. I like those sappy, silly, mindless movies where everything works out and the boy gets the girl and people end up happy. Yes, I know very well life isn’t really that way, but I like watching them anyway. My girls will walk in and say, “Oh, mom, you’re not watching those again.” “Well, yes I am, thank you very much.” Rarely do I just sit and just watch TV. FilmI’m usually doing a couple other things at the same time, which is another plus. You don’t have to pay much attention to those shows. I must admit during the Christmas season when they were on literally 24/7 there were a couple channels that showed them, and I would only watch the last hour or even half hour. It doesn’t take much to figure out what happened beforehand!

M is also for …

How Far for Some Jack-in-the-Box?

J is for J_cursiva justification.

Justification is God removing the guilt and penalty of our sin while at the same time declaring us, as sinners, righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account through faith alone.

I live between Washington, DC and Baltimore. Justice, in a legal sense, is elusive. Wrongs committed often go unpunished, leading to frustration, to say the least.

In God’s economy, forgiveness is wrapped up in justification, but so is justice. Yet we are not the ones paying for our own crimes. Jesus has already done that. Then our Father declares us clean and right with Him. God cannot abide with sin, but He longs to abide with us eternally. The only way to do that is to pay for the sin Himself, leaving us able to live forever with Him.

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Jumping for joy!

J is also for joy. I …