Timeless truth in a changing world



The Golden Calf in Your Life


The story of the Israelites and the Golden Calf is a ridiculous one, isn’t it? C’mon, people. Just a few weeks after God performed ten miraculous plagues, led you through the Red Sea on dry ground but drowned Pharaoh’s army after you, and fed you with manna and quail, you forget all this and make an idol to worship? After all God has done for you, this is your response? It’s laughable, really. This golden calf that Aaron made in front of your eyes is the one who led you out of Egypt? Lame. And yet, all too familiar. Because we are no different today.

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Dirty Socks


My socks told the story. The bottoms were more brown than white, with black specks and crumbs peppered generously all over. They were rather disgusting. So I knew it was time to steam mop. Again. I pulled out the mop and worked my way through all the tiled sections of our house, which is everything but the bedrooms. I felt a great sense of accomplishment, but then realized I was still wearing my dirty socks. Well, that wouldn’t do. I went to my room and opened my dresser to pull out another pair, and I hesitated. I had a couple pairs of brand-new socks, never worn. But did I really want to wear those? Any dirt left would certainly show up on those. Frankly, I didn’t want to know if the floors weren’t completely clean after all that effort. So I reached instead for a pair I’ve had for a while. Clean, but slightly discolored on the bottom. It would be better not to know.

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My first clue was the bites around my ankles. Nor could I deny that our dogs seemed to be scratching an awful lot. I set out traps and caught nothing, which put my mind slightly at ease. But when I walked across the carpet in my girls’ bedrooms one day, I looked dawn at my socks and saw about five little black specks. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were exactly what I was afraid they were. Fleas. 

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Deep Cleaning


Some time ago I did my quarterly … semi-annual … okay, annual (if I’m lucky) full-house carpet cleaning. I’m talking pulling out beds, moving dressers, and rearranging furniture. Oh, sure, I use it here and there to spot clean, but this was different. I focused on a different room each day, and by the end of the week, the carpets were squeaky clean, and I was feeling pretty happy about my progress, so I decided to use the upholstery tool to clean the couch and armchair as well. Looking at our couch beforehand, it didn’t look especially disgusting. It’s beige, so it showed a few discolorations, sure, where the kids spilled something or other. But I had the false impression that it was fairly clean overall. Boy, was I wrong. Continue reading “Deep Cleaning”

Leaves of Three


For as terrible as it got, it had a rather innocuous start.  Two days after contact, I noticed two small bumps on my arm and wondered about them.  Over the course of the next few days, more bumps appeared.  Then more.  Then there were some on my sides.  My arms and both sides of my abdomen were covered with blistering sores, and during the dog days of summer I was relegated to wearing long sleeves to cover the gauze that hid the ugly red sores and scabs that lasted the better part of a month.  What caused all this discomfort and pain?  Poison ivy.

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Keeping House


Just once I’d like to prove myself wrong.  I have this theory that housecleaning is always a humbling and usually disgusting experience.  And I have yet to disprove that by my own experiences.  With five children and two dogs, my house certainly won’t pass any white glove inspections.  I steam-mopped the house this weekend, and even though I had done so the previous week, I went through multiple mop pads in the process this time, and every one of them was black afterwards.  The stuff I swept up beforehand was nothing to sneeze at, either.  And my baby crawls on this every day?  Disgusting!  I could clean my bathrooms three times a day and they’d still have toothpaste on the counters and who-knows-what on the floor.  No matter how I try to keep a counter clear of clutter, it seems like I turn around and there’s a mound of stuff.  Sigh.  Just once, can’t I prove myself wrong?

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Remembering Your Baptism

For a kindergartner, my daughter has a pretty decent concept of what baptism is.  Her class had a unit on baptism in the fall, and she came home excited about it every day.  One day she announced to me seriously, “Mommy, if the devil tempts me, I can tell him, ‘Get away from me, devil.  I am baptized.'”  Absolutely true, and incredibly mature for a kindergarten student.  But how many of us really take our baptisms that seriously?

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Surface Cleaning

Last week I unearthed a surface or two that I haven’t seen since… well, maybe even since we moved here.  And I have to admit, that clean and empty surface looks really nice.  But I know it won’t stay that way for long, because in our household we cannot keep a surface clean.  Any cleared off surface attracts clutter automatically.  Whenever we wish to have a family brunch at the dining room table, we have to clear it off before we can eat.  By dinnertime, it’s right back to being cluttered.  Kitchen counters, dressers, even the washing machine- no surface is safe.  Kids’ homework, books, keys, coats, papers, crayons, Legos, you name it.  There’s something irresistible about a clean surface.  It’s just waiting to get cluttered again.

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Defining Moments

There are defining moments in everyone’s life, some more dramatic than others.  Perhaps you look back over your life thus far and see an important decision that stands out as one such moment; a decision that shaped the course of your future from there on out.  Maybe it was an event, like a stroke or accident that left you or a loved one incapacitated and altered the course of the rest of your life.  Some defining moments are good.  Many would point to Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous “I have a dream” speech as a moment that defined not only his life, but much of the civil rights movement.  Other defining moments are less illustrious.  Consider the college student who killed himself in 2010 after his roommate taped him and his same-sex partner in the act.  People who didn’t know anything about him at all will remember him for this.  It’s a tragic defining moment.  My guess is that your defining moments are somewhere in between those two extremes, but first, let’s look at some more examples.

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