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Gotta Get Them All

Recently, I had the privilege of going to an energetic Pokémon Trainer party where celebrities were in attendance.

The mood was giddy at times and conversations, animated. Although some guests were jumpy.

Decorations appropriate for the occasion festooned the room: balloons with watching eyes and streamers, among them. Marilyn Monroe was unable to attend and sing, so we all chimed in as our musical talents allowed. A small child, Toby, the guest of honor, beamed above a candle-lit Pokémon cake.

Guests seated themselves at long tables. Superman shoveled cake into his mouth with superhuman relish.  Cinderella toyed with dainty bites of cake, more intent, it seemed, to talk quickly with other guests, great and small, than to actually consume calories.

A representative from Star Wars sat in quiet dignity beside other comic characters. And a number of guests in plainclothes munched quietly.

But even casual observers could discern this was no ordinary birthday gathering. Serious business h…

Roots for a firm marriage foundation

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Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.Psalms 111:1:10 NLT)

How can two young people make a commitment to love and honor one another for a lifetime? Who can know what troubles and joys the years bring and the changes that result? Who can know what it takes to build a relationship and commitment that lasts? Who is that wise and foresighted?

Few marriages seem to last any more. Promises are strained and broken. Vows are whispered joyously and later forgotten or angrily cast aside. Seasons change and people change. So, how can two people build a relationship that can weather the changes? How can anyone know?

In 1975, when David and I were good friends and becoming more, I didn't know the answer to these questions. More than forty years later, after as many years of marriage, four children and ten grandchildren, I still can't predict the future any better than I could when I was young.

Over the years both David and I h…

Book Review: Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard

Jennie Allen reveals healing aspects of God's grace in her book Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard. Allen wrote the book after becoming exhausted trying to measure up. Two women helped her understand God's unconditional love for her. The dedication sums up God's grace at work:

You two show me unconditional, never-going-anywhere, no-matter-what, never-have-to-prove-a-thing love. 
Through thick and thin we've tested that this year, and God through you was solid Forever grateful for you. 
What kind of love is this? Unconditional love that sees faults and mistakes, yet forgives; that knows everything and loves, that encourages and accepts and endures, going the distance and beyond, never leaving us.
As believers in the living God, we have this love through Jesus, working in us and through us. God in us is enough. We have nothing to prove to the one who loves us and who lavishes his good gifts and grace on us.
When we can remember, recognize and believe God at…

On finding Abundance in empty places

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We normally think of abundance in terms of things. Of having a comfortable home, stylish furniture and clothes, shiny appliances and cars, plenty of money in bank accounts for emergency and fun getaways. Things.

Or, a loved one sharing our space. Or, children playing on that carpet. Or trips scrawled on the calendar.

What if abundance is an attitude? A mindset. A sense of well being and of being enough and of having enough even if meals are meager or possessions are few?

Priscilla Shirer talks of abundance in a DeeperStill Orlando event video. We are watching these videos as part of our current Bible study that uses the book, Faithful, Abundant, True. In this week's video Shirer encouraged thousands of women at the event, as well as the women with me listening in Vancouver, that abundance is possible in any season of life.

I agree with her and appreciate her reminder.

Shirer lives in a season of youth and ministry with her three young children still at home. My children are gro…

At what point do you turn it around?

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The leader in the 9:00 a.m. Saturday Weight Watchers' meeting asked, "At what point do you turn it around?"

No one answered.

I would bet my paycheck, if I had one, she knew full well at least one person in that crowded room did not follow the program every day that week. And we all know what that means, don't we?

"At what point do you turn it around?"

Still no one answered.

Finally, she asked for a show of hands. "Has anyone struggled this week?"

Several of us -- yes, me included -- raised our hands. Yes, I did. I lifted my fingers and palm at least a few inches, hoping no one would see me.

Uh huh, it was that kind of week. I'd gained a few pounds. Traveling, a few meals out, bowls of Simply Naked popcorn, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, Pei Wei dinner special in the airport -- these may have been the biggest offenders this week, but there was plenty I'd been eating and not tracking. Too much food.

Not tracking, not writing down everyth…

Distinguished Americans series: Robert Panara

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Throughout his life Robert Panara  (1920-2014) served the deaf community with intelligence, creativity and modeled overcoming hearing loss. He was a teacher and pioneer of Deaf Studies.

The 16th issue in the United States Postal Service Distinguished Americans series issued April 11, 2017, honors Panara, as he signs the word "Respect."

Panara wasn't born deaf. At 10, spinal meningitis left him changed. Resources for the deaf in the 1930s were few. After completing high school, Panara learned American Sign Language. The second world war was ending the year he graduated from Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) in Washington, D.C. After earning a masters from New York University in 1948, Panara taught at Gallaudet for nearly 20 years before beginning his career at National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) where he developed programs and taught, helping deaf students thrive on a hearing campus.

Panara is best known for his passion for literature and drama. He…