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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Meeting Together Apart

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I sat in my car with my five children, rain steadily pelting the roof, the windows slowly fogging up with our warm air inside. We had only a limited view of the other cars around us in similar situations. My husband was leading a drive-in church service and had partially retreated to the open door of the church to avoid the rain. We could see neither him nor our fellow worshipers on Sunday morning, but we could hear him over a local radio frequency that had a limited range barely reaching the edge of the parking lot. This has become the new normal. Drive-in church. And I admit, it’s a bit of a letdown. My five-year-old, who was never terribly well behaved in church anyhow, no longer has to sit on my lap during the service, so he slides on and off his seat in the car. My other kids, who are generally quite well behaved in church, now have the freedom to whisper little side comments throughout the service or slouch back in their seats or take off their shoes. Sitting in our car doesn’t have the same effect as sitting in a physical church building with other congregants around us and the organ accompanying us for hymns. Listening over a radio frequency just isn’t the same.

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Normal is Overrated

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Believe it or not, I’m enjoying this quarantine. I know, crazy, right? I myself am surprised at this realization, and I’ve come a long way since last week’s post about Grudgingly Serving my Neighbor. Having five kids home all the time, doing school work from home, effectively making me into a homeschool parent, doesn’t sound like my idea of fun. And granted, there are moments every day where I’m sure I’m about to lose my sanity, but that’s nothing new. Such is the nature of living in close quarters with different personalities and temperaments. But something is different with all of us home this time around. This isn’t summer vacation or Christmas break. The kids are still in school, but they’re *only* in school—no extracurriculars. There is no driving time, no before or after school practices, no track meets, no UIL competitions. In short, it comes down to this: our lives have been simplified.

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Grudgingly Serving My Neighbor

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If you’re anything like me, you’re getting sick (no pun intended) of hearing about the coronavirus. Everywhere I turn, there’s a new update or restriction or cancellation. March and April, which for us was supposed to be chock full of track practices and meets, archery practice for the State tournament, field trips, music competitions, and Confirmation activities, has suddenly cleared for an unspecified amount of time, leaving a conspicuous absence of activity. That unnerves and irritates me. My kids just finished a week of spring break, and now they have more time at home, which throws off my own schedule. And from what I can gather, this isn’t going to be a quick fix. Many states have already called off school (or imposed “distance learning”) for up to three weeks. This is going to drag out for a while. I fear we’ve only just begun.

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When Money Gets in the Way

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There were a dozen reasons to say no. The family asking for help with their bill was well-known around town. They didn’t make wise use of money, often asked for handouts, and were generally looked upon with suspicion. People didn’t trust them, and for good reason. Besides, it’s not good to enable people, right? Let them learn from the consequences of their actions. You don’t want to risk them coming back to you again and again. It’s best not to get involved at all.

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A Minecraft Fable

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I could hear the yelling from my room. My oldest two children were playing Minecraft in the living room, and I had no doubt the yelling was related to the game. Sighing deeply and thinking to myself (not for the first time) that video games are more trouble than they’re worth, I went out to play referee. Turns out one of my boys had blown up his brother’s house and his stash of diamonds. Having never played the game myself, I didn’t know what the big deal was, but my son insisted he’d worked really hard to build his house and accumulate the diamonds. Then, just like that, it was gone, and he couldn’t get it back. One thoughtless (malicious, perhaps?) action had undone everything he’d worked so hard to build.

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What Pro-Lifers can Learn from the Other Side

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Last weekend I saw Unplanned. This past weekend I was privileged to hear Abby Johnson speak at a pro-life fundraiser. Both events were thought-provoking and eye-opening, and a few of the insights I’ve gained have little to do with the actual topic of abortion. One of the main concepts that struck me is the mentality of those on both sides of the issue. Those who fight for womens’ “reproductive rights” are clearly “all in.” They display a commitment that puts most pro-lifers to shame. And although my stance on abortion is quite different from theirs, I appreciate and admire their tenacity and the passion with which they defend their cause.

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Santa Sightings

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I saw Santa Claus in the post office the other day. He ended up in line behind me as we waited for the postal clerk. Now, my kids don’t believe in Santa, but my three-year-old was gawking at him, so I decided to have some fun. “Is that Santa I see here?” I asked my son. “What’s he doing here? I didn’t think Santa mailed stuff from this post office! Isn’t he supposed to be in the North Pole?” The pretend Santa smiled,  but otherwise remained silent. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I’d hoped for an obligatory, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” After all, he was wearing the costume. The least he could do was play the part.

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A Modern-Day Good Samaritan Story

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I groaned as I saw the flashing construction vehicles and the line of red brake lights ahead of me. I was taking my son to school, and we hadn’t left early enough to allow for delays like this. Some cars were already doing U-turns, presumably to go another route. But our detour option was a much longer way, so I decided to wait a few minutes before making a knee-jerk reaction. Sure enough, a minute later the cars ahead of me slowly started inching forward. Whew. But as I approached the cause of the backup, I could see this wasn’t just construction. There was a car with a smashed front end sitting in the middle of the four-lane road, and there was a man lying on the ground next to the driver’s side, two construction workers kneeling beside him. Clearly, the accident had happened very recently, since the emergency workers hadn’t yet shown up. It was a horrifying feeling to pass right by the man on the ground, not knowing his condition or even if he was alive. My son and I prayed for him and for the others involved in the accident, and we were fairly silent the rest of the drive, until my son said, “You know, Mr. Smith would have stopped to see if he could help.” It was an innocent observation; he didn’t mean it as a guilt trip, but I was convicted nonetheless. I should have stopped, but I didn’t. It was a modern-day parable of the Good Samaritan, and I was the priest passing by on the other side.

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The “Lazy” Days of Summer

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Whoever coined the phrase “lazy days of summer” obviously didn’t have a summer like mine. I could make my own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Between five kids home from school, four summer reading programs, three weddings, two sets of houseguests, and a cross-country vacation just before school starts again, there’s nothing lazy about this summer. This past week was a real doozy. I played for a wedding last weekend, and the rest of the weekend was devoted to an out-of-town baseball All-Stars tournament. Monday ushered in VBS week, for which I led music. Friday was the final day of VBS, plus the closing program, as well as my daughter’s birthday. To say it was a crazy week is sort of an understatement. On Saturday, when we all finally had nothing going on for once, my three-year-old, who never naps, was so exhausted he just fell asleep on the couch. Clearly the busy pace had caught up to him at last. He needed rest.

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