A hamster, basement steps and an object lesson about love

hamster

Who knew that the sound of hard plastic smacking on wooden steps could be so painful? So heartbreaking with each echoing thwack … especially after my 9-year-old daughter screamed out in agony, helpless to change what was happening. Read the rest of this entry

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Giving thanks to a real, everyday hero

wedd

His voice was weak, but I knew better.

The person on the other side of the phone is anything but weak. He’s one of the strongest men I know.

It was hard to hang up the phone at the end of our conversation. How do you wrap up a conversation with a hero — especially since that “goodbye” before hanging up could always be the final goodbye. Read the rest of this entry

Twelve-minute movie, adoption and a journey through complex trauma

My wife and I have seen plenty of powerful, uplifting movies. Films that chill us to our emotional core. That trigger so many feelings it can be overwhelming.

But none of them hit us as hard as a 12-minute online video where one very young girl opens her narration with 11 powerful words: “Sometimes someone hurts you so bad it stops hurting at all.” Read the rest of this entry

Center of the crosshairs: A new focus on daily living

throughscope

Have you ever looked through a rifle scope?

Have you experienced the drastic change as your eyes adjust from such a wide view of the world to a clear, amplified image of one specific thing that was otherwise lost in the sea of the bigger picture? Read the rest of this entry

Looking for a role model?

In this age of Miley Cyrus twerks and Justin Bieber meltdowns, it can be hard to find a positive role model for our young children. That’s why Jamie Grace has been such a breath of fresh air for my wife and myself. She shares some very personal struggles and how her trust in God helped her overcome adversity. Let’s pray she continues to show our young people that living a Godly life can be so rewarding and cool despite what society suggests.

A sincere request in the midst of a tragic situation

matt

“Where were you when the world stopped turning?” asks country singer Alan Jackson in a song he wrote after the 9/11 terrorist strikes.

It’s a question we often ask after tragedies – moments that are seared into our memories as we create a mental scrapbook of big events that change our lives. Read the rest of this entry

Finding God on a nature hike

vernalpool

There was much to see on a series of nature hikes taken this summer at a western Pennsylvania kids camp.

But one of the best lessons came from what wasn’t seen. The camp, sponsored by the state’s western branch of the Wesleyan denomination, offered a slew of outdoors-based activities ranging from rock climbing to natural waterslides with a number of devotional rallies held throughout for kids in second through sixth grades. It was an inspirational five days in nature, and an experience I share through several previous blog entries. Read the rest of this entry

Getting to the ‘root’ of the lesson

dirtkid

Four small fingers and a thumb wrapped themselves carefully around a young dandelion shoot at the edge of a small woodlot. The dirt below it was dark, loose and extremely rich with nutrients. Read the rest of this entry