Posted in Personal Helps, Proactive Faith, Stories & Studies

In the Real Hero’s Shadow

Caleb’s name has been passed down through the ages as a courageous hero. His beloved Hebron is immortalized on thousands of church signs. You sing “I Want That Mountain” in church, inspired by his story. You know at least a few people named for him. But what if Caleb was… your dad?

You know the story. Joshua and Caleb were among those spying out Canaan, and would be the only two adults in faithless Israel to get to enter. Fast-forward 45 years: Joshua is now Moses’s successor, and is busy conquering Canaan. Caleb is now an old man, trying very hard to be patient as his tribe waits their turn for land allotments. He tells Joshua, “Moses promised me Hebron. I have been faithful to God and He’s kept me going. I’m still ready to fight. Can I please just have it now?” And Caleb the 85-year-old giant-killer charges into Hebron and possesses that thing.

Achsah (pronounced “ak-sa”) is Caleb’s daughter. Imagine growing up in Caleb’s shadow. You’ve heard him talk about giants and victory and Hebron your entire life. He spends his evenings telling you – again – about the amazing things he saw there. He’s ingrained it into you that fear, disobedience, and complaining are all roads to failure and misery. He’s stubbornly supported everything Moses and Joshua have ever said or done. You never get home from the tabernacle before dark because Dad’s volunteering the family for everything. But for all his annoying cheerfulness, you know unquestioningly that he is the greatest man you’ve ever known. He’s a hero to you – especially when he finally gets to defeat the sons of the giants and claim his beloved Hebron.

Continue reading “In the Real Hero’s Shadow”

Posted in No Need of Spoil, Personal Helps

A Classic Woman in a Changing World


What constitutes a classic?

If you instantly pictured a Dickens novel or a 1960s Camaro, well, you’re not wrong. A classic is something distinctive that doesn’t lose its appeal over the years. It’s something timeless, that continues to resonate long after its creation.

So in six millennia of human existence, what is classic womanhood? The world hasn’t really ever decided what to do with women. Throughout the ages and across cultures, women have been worshiped, abused, treated as property or bargaining chips, reverenced as the leaders of society. What constitutes a classic woman in a world that can’t make up its mind about us? Continue reading “A Classic Woman in a Changing World”

Posted in Personal Helps

5 Steps to Being a Doer (When You Can’t Find Your Keys)

Confession: I’m unbelievably forgetful. While I’m fixing dinner, I forget there’s still laundry in the dryer. My students know that if I don’t write assignments down, I won’t remember what I’ve instructed them to do (and they’re off the hook). I have driven straight past exits because I’m lost in thought or listening too intently to Nat King Cole (“so straighten up and fly right!”). Continue reading “5 Steps to Being a Doer (When You Can’t Find Your Keys)”

Posted in Personal Helps

The Day the Knife Slipped


I love cooking. It’s a very practical science, it’s a creative game, and, well, there’s food involved.

And for the most part, I’m a fairly competent “kitcheneer”, thanks to my skilled mother. I can make you forget you’ve had chicken three times this week, or that you’ve just eaten your fifth cookie in a haze of carb-induced euphoria. I can wield knives and gadgets and raw food with confidence. I can cook on a budget and for people with completely opposite dietary needs.  I know what I’m doing.

But in the last three months or so, I’ve suddenly Continue reading “The Day the Knife Slipped”

Posted in Encouragement, Personal Helps, Uncategorized

Dream Home!

Have you ever felt around in the dark for a light switch before finally locating it behind a door? Or maybe you’ve heard the windows whistling when the wind blows. The paint that looked so good in Better Homes and Gardens made the bathroom look like a dilapidated toolshed. And whoever designed our space-challenged kitchen with SEVEN six-inch-wide cabinets certainly didn’t cook! But even the “dream homes” you see on Pinterest and HGTV are replete with design flaws, whether it’s because of an amateur draftsman, a last-minute addition, or a nifty but impractical idea.

And you know what? I’m a terrible architect at building a dream Continue reading “Dream Home!”

Posted in Encouragement, Personal Helps

Restoring To Factory Settings

Ahh, the good old days of green-screened Gameboys and heavily-pixellated Oregon Trail computer games. We’ve come a long way since the ’90s, friends. I have been blessed to own several nice electronics over the years – laptops, cell phones, e-readers, etc. Since shelling out hundreds of dollars on a vaguely “faster” new phone with more power than NASA needed to land on the moon is not my style!, most of them have been refurbished models, that is, items that were previously owned but have been restored to factory settings so someone else can now use them. Restoring to factory settings like this (also called a master reset) is also a common fix for electronics that are running poorly or have been infected with a virus.

When I’m feeling low, I inevitably reach for something new – a book, a song, a fresh lipstick, something different to distract me. Or I long uselessly for different circumstances, a fresh start, a new opportunity. And as much as I love the idea of a God who makes all things new, it’s a little astonishing to realize that He’s also in the refurb business – repairing me instead of giving me something new. Continue reading “Restoring To Factory Settings”

Posted in Ministry Helps

Love as Deep as a Spoon

Have you ever tried feeding someone else’s baby?

In my first year of college I worked at a busy daycare. On any given day, I’d be in charge of four or five small humans who were still struggling with the idea that food was supposed to go inside their mouths. Some insisted on spitting it out or even vomiting; others seemed to see the approaching spoon as some alien object that under no circumstances could be allowed to pass their lips. (One would think that a connoisseur of toenails and carpet fibers would be less opposed to things like pureed pears.) Occasionally a baby would be adventurous and try wielding the spoon himself, only to smear mashed peas down the back of his ear. In short, it’s amazing how much effort and food go into feeding a baby, considering a good portion of it ends up on the floor.

In the last article, we talked about cheerfully getting involved in people’s problems. But what about people who are constantly generating more problems? Continue reading “Love as Deep as a Spoon”