life


Ladder lessons
Last week I worked on a Samaritan’s Purse rebuild project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Samaritan’s Purse uses volunteer crews to repair and rebuild homes damaged in disasters. We were reconstructing houses damaged in a massive flood in 2016. These people have been out of their homes for more than two years.  Before […]

2 Lessons from a Ladder


Tomorrow is the first day of 2019. Instead of making resolutions that will go by the wayside in a few weeks, consider this approach. This is a repost of a blog I published in September 2016, but I think it applies especially well to the New Year. What new frontiers […]

Approaching the New Year with Faith



Our lives are guided by faith, not by sight.
I just got back from the eye doctor’s office, and my vision is still adjusting to the light after being dilated and then having bright lights shone into my eyes. Am I the only one who feels as if I’m failing the test when I can’t tell which line of […]

Keeping Your 20-20 Vision


Isaiah 55:12
Iowa’s not flat, after all. And it’s not all cornfields. Most people who don’t live in the Midwest probably know little more about the state of Iowa than what they saw in the movie Field of Dreams, with its classic exchange: A baseball player asks, “Is this heaven?” The Kevin […]

Iowa’s Got More Than Corn



My mother
Advice your mother gave you stays with you all your life, right? When I was a college freshman and going on a spring break trip to New York City with friends, my mother sent me off with this advice: “Remember who you are and what you represent.” At the time, […]

Best Advice Mother Ever Gave Me


Montreat gate
When I think of gates, the first one that comes to mind is the archway at the entrance to Montreat, North Carolina. It’s not really a gate anymore since there’s no blockade to prevent you from entering–unless you’re driving a truck. This double stone gateway is barely wide enough for […]

Choosing the Narrow Gate



Parking-never back up
My husband tries to avoid backing up in a parking lot. It’s dangerous, he says. Whenever possible, he chooses a space where he can pull through–not so he can exit faster, but so he can see what’s coming and avoid being hit by someone else who is backing up. He’s […]

Never Back Up


Are you a fixer-upper like me? I’m not talking about rehabbing houses–or even making minor repairs, although I enjoy restoring or updating houses to give them new life. I’m talking about “fixing” other people–giving advice, seeing exactly what they need to do.  Jesus called it hypocritical: “How can you say […]

Are You a Fixer-Upper?



A visit to a medical museum in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last week reminded me how grateful I am to live in this time period. A hundred years ago, a lung problem might have been treated–if at all–by putting the patient in an iron lung–a huge contraption that left one […]

Miracles of Modern Medicine


Collecting shells at the beach is almost mandatory, especially if you live inland and don’t get to visit the ocean very often. We have jars of shells collected from beaches in Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Florida. We even have a book to help identify them–not that […]

Shells Hide Amazing Secrets