How to Set a New Year’s Resolution with Intention

Around this time every year, we make resolutions (and frankly, by the time this is posted a good number will already have been abandoned). Often, we opt for improvement in exercise, diet, or health habits. Other times, we take the path of “giving up”– drinking, smoking, coffee, television, social media, fill-in your “drug” of choice.

Not to say that anything is wrong with any of these choices, but can we challenge ourselves to go deeper? More meaningful? Read more

Help Wanted

Do you remember your first day at your first “real” job? I’ll bet that you were tasked with some assignment for which you did not feel qualified. I arrived for my first day as a “real” attorney full of spit and vinegar. (Not really, I was as nervous as my rat terrier trying to navigate a wooden floor.)

My first assignment was mind-boggling – at least to me. Just a snot-nosed, young attorney, I was wholly unqualified to accomplish it. My boss instructed me to review a case file (it took up about the equivalent of four feet of cabinet space) and write an outline to prepare the case for trial. Oh yeah – “I’m meeting with the client when my flight lands in Atlanta, so you have about two hours to complete it.” What? Read more

Does Your Faith Sizzle or Fizzle?

Do you ever feel like a fake? Phony? Fraud? When it comes to faith, I sometimes feel this way. I look around and see other believers who are “on fire.” Faith just seems jump off of them like a three-alarm blaze. Their souls fully engulfed in towering flames. Singing praises even when challenges threaten to dampen the flames.

Their faith sizzles.

That’s not me. At least not right now. Maybe never. My faith questions and probes. My hope is hiding under a heap of ash on a lot of days.

My faith fizzles? Read more

Who wants to be the “King of Pain”?

There’s a little black spot on the sun today, that’s my soul up there
It’s the same old thing as yesterday, that’s my soul up there
There’s a black hat caught in a high tree top, that’s my soul up there
There’s a flag pole rag and the wind won’t stop, that’s my soul up there
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running ’round my brain
I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign
But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain – 
The Police

“I’ll see your despair and raise you two gloom.” Doesn’t it always seem in this game of life that we are constantly “sweetening” the pot of suffering. A never-ending round of one upping our fellow players. Who wants to be the big “winner” anyway? Who wants to walk away from the table with a wad of woe – peeling each one back like a crisp hundred-dollar bill to spend on future rounds of “Who Has it Worse”? Read more

How to Fill the Empty Seat at the Thanksgiving Table

When tragedy strikes, it becomes a line of demarcation. Like the rings in the trunk of a tree, each misfortune leaves a permanent mark on our souls. There is “before” and “after.” Time marches to a different cadence in the Land of After. The calendar ticks off “should have beens,” “could have beens,” and “would have beens.” The calendar in the Land of After chronicles time with “milestones” and “firsts” nonexistent in the Land of Before. Read more

When you’ve lost so much – how do you manage to be grateful?

My daddy was an ironic mash-up of 70’s flower child and Sicilian Catholic. In the 70’s and 80’s he had an annoying habit of preaching the gospel of “PMA.” For those of you who might have been subjected to this particular brand of torture in your own lives, you will recognize “PMA” as standing for “Positive Mental Attitude.” For every negative comment that Daddy caught us uttering, he would literally make us repeat the opposing positive statement out loud ten – TEN – times. You recognize the formula. It takes ten – TEN- positive thoughts/actions/comments to erase the energy created by just one negative thought/action/comment.

How does this look when applied? Quick example – I might say something to my little brother like “I hate you.” Read more

Why “Dances with a Limp?”

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken.  And the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved.  But this is also the good news.  They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up.  And you come through.  It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold.  But you learn to dance with the limp.  – Anne Lamott

If you are looking for evidence of God’s sense of humor – you’ve landed in the right place.  Had I lived in Biblical times, you likely would have had an easier time finding me at the well than in the synagogue.  Frankly, there hasn’t been a less likely candidate to share the Word since Saul of Tarsus.  And, there is where the comparison between the Apostle Paul and me ends. Read more