You Tell The Best Stories, Pawpaw!

My grandfather was an amazing storyteller. He was always a larger than life figure in my eyes as a boy and still is even as a grown man. He had this ability to mesmerize us grandkids with his stories of being a police officer in Atlanta, and the stories of his adventures with his friends. To this day, I have no idea if any of these stories he told actually happened! He…

Weeds in the Garden

It’s just not my strength. Gardening, for me, usually ends in disaster! But not for my grandmother. When I was a boy I remember me and my brothers and cousins being conscripted to help Mawmaw “put up” the vegetables from her garden. Corn and okra and green beans, and other produce was grown, harvested, canned, and stored so we’d have fresh vegetables to eat all year long. It amazed me she could…

God’s Provision

I’ve heard this all my life “God will provide.” I remember hearing it when me and my brother and my mom were near poverty when I was young, and He did. I remember hearing it when I watched my family go through a shattering crisis, and He did. I remember hearing it again when I was terrified at the consequences of leaving the religious world of my youth, of leaving the stable…

Phoebe, a Deaconess

The old saying is “You can pick your friends, but you’re stuck with your relatives.” Oh, the volumes that have been written about dysfunctional families! Family dynamics is one of the most interesting aspects of psychology to me because when I look at my own family I see a tapestry of joy, love, confusion, pain, good choices, bad choices, and a whole lot more. In other words, like most families, we have…

It Is More Blessed to Give!

It’s a bit of a paradox, but the truth is Faith and Joy are gifts that can only be possessed by giving them away! Strange, isn’t it? But think about it. joy and faith are always the casualties of inattentiveness. When I stop prioritizing Faith and Joy, they diminish their presence in my life. When I focus on Faith and Joy, they grow and spread to others around me. It’s kind of…

What Draws a Crowd?

Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it good or right. William Penn said, “Avoid popularity; it has many snares and no real benefits.” In my previous religious circles, we were always working to build a big crowd so that we could assure ourselves we were doing the right thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with large churches AS LONG AS they are staffed properly so that families…

Nothing is Unclean in Itself

The preacher was telling the story of the plight of those in biblical times who suffered from leprosy. They were social outcasts and had to live in leper colonies and if they ventured out, they had to call before them to warn all around the “Unclean! Unclean!” You see leprosy was highly contagious, even to the point that the clothes lepers wore were burned instead of recycled or given away. The leper…

Childlike OR Childish!

The great 20th-century thinker, Aldous Huxley, once said: “Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.” Funny, now that I think about it, he’s right. Children have the power of clarity of thought that is absolute and simple. No wonder they are so stubborn when they want something. It simply never occurred to them that they didn’t have…

Free At Last, Thank God Almighty, I’m Free At Last!

Janis Joplin had a hit record after her death in 1971 called “Me and Bobby McGee” that had a line that said, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Kind of a depressing thought, but then again, the song is about the memory of a happier time and the loss of that time, so I guess that makes sense. The whole concept of freedom is at the heart of most of human…

How Much Do You Love Me?

My daughters and I have this little game we play. I ask them “How much do you love me?” And they, giggling and smiling, try to stretch their little arms as wide as they can and say “This much, daddy!” Of course, then they ask me how much I love them and I make as big a show as I can to stretch my arms as wide as I can and say…