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Mark 2

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  (Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash ) What were you going to do, run away? Your friends were bound and determined to carry you to the itinerant preacher; Never mind the time they had to take off work or the crowded traffic of Capernaum or that there really wasn’t space for them. No, they were going to get you to Him if they had to carry you the whole way drag you up onto a roof and dismantle someone else’s house. And then, there you were: all eyes on you, the interruption. But He didn’t leave you hanging, an impersonal prop in an object lesson,   a convenient sermon illustration. He didn’t ask if you believed, if you wanted to be healed, to tell the truth, the whole truth , and nothing but the truth,   so help you God. He looked at your friends with that twinkling light of an acknowledging smile rising in His dark eyes and nodded, like He had heard their desperate prayers, and labored breathing, and swallowed curses as they wrestle

A Word for 2021 (and a few more words, in reflection and expectation)

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At the start of this new calendar year, I wonder what to hold onto, what to focus on.  My email inbox is full of tools and tips.  My planner’s pages are mostly empty.   I did not live the last year perfectly or always gracefully— there were plenty of times that my light flickered and wavered with turbulent emotions, stress, conflict, fear, selfishness, frustration.  I spent a lot of time in questioning complaint.  Yet the light of God’s goodness was constant, if sometimes hidden from my eyes by storm clouds.   Photo by  SwapnIl Dwivedi  on  Unsplash There are many ways (so many ways) that I hope to grow this year, so many facets of roles and responsibilities that are parts of my life that I hope to develop in.  I want to be more consistent in my time with God, to rush less, to greet people with wonder and attention, to be physically healthy, to make space for mental health and to be wise about taking time to breathe (especially when those around me are struggling). But my attention and

The Weary World (Advent 2020)

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"Hi, Hannah?" my doctor said when he called me this morning, sounding weary and apologetic.  "Your test came back positive." Aside from feeling like I have a sinus infection -- which is not surprising, as the weather in western Pennsylvania has been jumping up and down all through the fall -- I've felt fine.  Well, aside from that and the growing craziness as we go on week three of quarantining at home. We're thankful, still, that we knew  almost immediately after coming home from Thanksgiving that we had been exposed to covid.  (Something about our housemate not being able to smell or taste anything was a significant tipoff.)  We're thankful to get to make sure that we don't spread it, especially since many in our congregation are older, and one of our ministry team members has plenty of respiratory complications without any additional virus.  We're thankful that my jobs aren't impacted by me needing to stay at home, and that Jason has a job

My Need and God's Generosity

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Here's a curious thing that I find in myself: the more I experience the provision of God, the greater is the temptation that I feel to stress over doing enough to take care of myself.  The more I've been given, the more I feel like I should be able to justify why I deserved it.   Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash This point was illustrated (in case I needed illustration to convince me) when my husband suddenly lost his job yesterday.  Why am I so stressed about this?  I wondered this morning as my mind spun with schemes of how we can make up the gap in our income.  After all, a year and a half ago I moved back from China and had absolutely no idea what job I'd find.  I rented an apartment and settled into a community before I found a job, took a month to breathe and begin to reacclimatize to life in the US, and ended up with a job (at Sheetz) and a half (with Write Your Way Academy) and everything, everything , that I needed was provided for. Immediately, my heart be

Waiting in the Rain (and Loving the Weather)

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Photo by Hannah Domsic on Unsplash I'm not a very serious gardener as of yet, but moving into an actual house this past spring opened up some possibilities for me to invest a little more in dreaming about growing things and cultivating our outdoor space as we do with the indoor.  Between wedding gifts and a church full of avid and generous gardeners, we soon found ourselves well equipped with a variety of containers, happily started plants, and abundant advice.  I set up a row of containers along one side of our yard and we got to enjoy some cucumbers, a few cherry tomatoes, quite a few peppers, and fresh herbs in everything .   My dreams for next year involved rototilling up one side of the yard (conveniently partitioned off by the sidewalk.) We broke down cardboard boxes for a month or two and now have that space pretty well covered with a layer of cardboard weighted down with a motley assortment of heavy junk -- pots, Adirondack chairs, an old shelf that's destined for the

Autumn Valor

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Glory be to God for mundane things -- for Boo hanging from the attic vent; for yeast slowly stretching gluten strands; fun fabric for masks; stairway conversations; the grace of learning a new baby's name; and music streamed in this unsung season. All things small, quiet, discordant, unseen; whatever is sought, crafted (who knows why?) by hands, speech, instinct, need, delight He holds it all together in His joy: Praise Him. (For FVC, with obvious thanks to Gerard Manley Hopkins and Pied Beauty )

For the Start of Autumn (updates + songs)

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Although this blog has been quiet, life has been full (as usual.)  At the beginning of September, I ended my job working at Sheetz.  I really enjoyed my coworkers and many of our regulars, and I was very thankful for the steady income God provided through it (despite me initially saying "No way!" when my dad suggested I apply to a gas station!) and shifting to working from home felt a little bit like stepping out of a nice, solid boat and onto a very uncertain body of water.  Cool?  Foolhardy?  Incredible?  Anyway, it was time -- working overnight shifts was alright while I was single and lived a few blocks away, but it was much less ideal when married and living miles away instead. So I quit, Jason and I went camping with some friends from our small group, and I came home and plunged into new jobs -- working for Uncommon Universes Press and for Write At Home .  It has been a delight to get to deal with books and students and my heart is so happy with that shift.  Not only d