No Mosquito Bites

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The Gratitude Gospel: Day 1

If you know me in real life, you’ve probably heard me complain about the mosquitoes at our short-term home. They eat the children alive, even with bug spray. We are lucky to escape a 20-minute outdoor adventure with less than 8 bites EACH.

Yesterday a trending weather pattern continued: rain. Frankly, I wanted to kick nature in the pants. So we hooded and booted up. No puddle was safe.

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The Gratitude Gospel*

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The Gratitude Gospel. Okay, so I made it up. But this is a new theme I am exploring in my blog.

You see, life has been rainy lately. And not in the “kids splashing in the rain” kind of way.

We sold our home.

We are renting a cabin in the woods outside of town.

And the university that employees my husband and myself is in the midst of a consolidation.

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When You Can’t Push

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I’m a bit of an agenda pusher. In college, for example, I saw marriage as my opportunity to no longer be scared in bed each night. For whatever reason, I feared the darkness.

That is, until I read a magazine article with the perfect antidote. It told me to call out one word three times: Jesus. It worked.

My husband and I will celebrate eight years of marriage this summer, and I must confess that when he travels, I still chase the invisible monsters away with a single name.

What’s harder, however, is quieting the other demons that persist in adulthood. The anxiety. The doubts. The dread of not knowing the future.

Quite simply, the walls we can’t easily push through.

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When Jesus Is Gay

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Once upon a time, a little girl learned about Jesus. He had a beard, just like her father, and the bluest of eyes. The Bible told her that he was a warm man – the kind who never met a stranger.

But the sermon always took a Southern Baptist turn for the worse when homosexuality was mentioned. What happens to those who are intimate with the same sex?

Hell.

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The Trouble with Christianity

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In our eighth year of marriage, my husband and I faced one of our greatest decisions yet. I’d be lying if I said strong emotions weren’t central.

After several months of consideration and prayer, our future seemed to be falling into place. Except for this one ever-present question: Is this best for our children?

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I took my 1-year-old on a mission trip. Here’s what happened

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It’s a scene no mother envisions: your 1-year-old child running barefoot through a church made of two double-wides in the middle of West Virginia. And, yet, this is a quintessential moment from my first mission trip with my daughter.

To be honest, it was a beautiful sight. You see, in coal country, there is an emerging trend to combat vast unemployment, uncomfortable outside aid, and limited access to essential services.

Cease having children.

When I agreed to join this service opportunity, I didn’t realize that my little girl would be the youngest child I would encounter on the trip. I live in the Deep South, and babies are everywhere. But this is not true in the heart of Appalachia, and it would be my daughter who gave this community what I could not: hope.

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Meeting the Deplorable

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“My insurance is gonna run out soon. Truman promised to take care of us.”

When you’re immersed in Appalachia, this statement translates quite easily: I used to work in the mines.

But the coal industry that sustained life in West Virginia – and, if we’re honest, the rest of America – is now idle. Caught in the political crosshairs, tens of thousands of men and women are now without work.

The local pastor with whom our mission team recently served was quick to redirect our sympathy: “I can’t even go through a metal detector – I got metal in my knees and hip!”

It was a light moment before the grim reality of the region intensified: There is no money.

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