Spare The Rod * Spoil The Soul

When I was in my late-twenties, there were about six people in the whole world that didn’t rub me the wrong way. In particular, everyone at church – especially the men and the women – annoyed me to no end. For example: “Are you really inviting me to a women’s study? During the work day? On my one night off? On Sunday afternoon? Really!? Don’t you know I work at a particularly challenging job and also have small kids?” But IRead more

A Breath Of Fresh Air

“The mind can take in what the seat can endure” my dad says after a sermon’s gone too long. We all get fidgety after too many words. That said, last week I wrote an essay that was too long for any mind (or seat) and so I posted only the first half. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it. And below is Part 2:) “A Breath OF Fresh Air” [Part 2] So then, what are some practices that will help prepare our sonsRead more

Feel Free to Invite Yourselves In

Every now and then, David or I will sit down with one of our kids and ask to scroll through their social media feeds. They love these special times just as much as you can imagine they would. Even with the consistently less-than-enthusiastic welcome, while our children are still under care we will continue to drop in and invite ourselves into their on-line spaces. We do this because we really enjoy eighth-grade humor and have tons of extra time. Kidding. WeRead more

In Our Best Moments

Consider the last 24 hours. What did you think, say, or write in your own strength? What did your words or tone convey about who you are when you are afraid? What was your demeanor if you were misunderstood, interrupted, or questioned? How confident were you in your own opinion; in the way that seems so obviously right to you? How can she not see the truth? Can he even be a Christian? How often did you examine your ownRead more

Answer the Voices

“What can I possibly write that hasn’t been expressed a thousand times over? This question haunts insecure writers. We lament that there is nothing new to say under the sun. Surely it’s all been said, in a lovelier way than we could ever say it, by far more eloquent voices than ourselves! What can we hope to contribute with our words, besides more and more noise? Adding to our collective lack of self-confidence, outside every writer’s door is a cocktail party of imaginedRead more

Putting on Patience

My husband is to good manners as sugar is to Southern sweet tea. Can you imagine ordering a tall glass of iced tea somewhere in North Carolina and it not including half a cup of sugar? The gall! The confusion! So it is for anyone that knows David for even a little while: David Hall’s careful consideration of you can be expected and anticipated, as sure as the sun. Good manners, or an awareness and respect of others, is a gracious suitRead more

“Give Them To Me.”

He wore an automatic assault rifle and an unpleasant attitude. Dressed in a green police uniform, the officer lounged against the wall and scanned the room. After several minutes he crossed the concrete floor and approached us in line. “Give them to me.” he said without a please. Clearly, he didn’t feel any need to identify himself or give any further explanation. I could only assume that he was referring to the stack of American passports in my hands, asRead more

Put On Your Small And Walk

I recently saw an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. She had always been a beautiful woman in all the best ways. Nothing had dimmed, but something had definitely changed. During the years we’d lived close, I’d known how hard she’d struggled under the weight of gaining (and not losing) fifty pounds during her two pregnancies. But in the time we’d recently been apart, the physical and emotional weight she’d carried with her all those years had vanished. She was light-heartedRead more

Right In The Eyes

If you were God’s enemy, where would you focus your best efforts? And everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Knowing that your days are numbered, where would you concentrate your final energies? In the beginning of the world’s story, Eve and Adam began to imagine (with the enemy’s help) what it would be like to do what was right in their own eyes, and they were the first to do it. They immediately discovered that what they thought would beRead more

No Longer At The Table

For a long time after he left we ate quietly in the kitchen. How can anyone fully ready themselves for when a loved one is no longer at the table? By a long time, I mean almost a whole semester.  For a few disorienting months I didn’t set the dining table around which we’d gathered thousands of times before – meal after meal, laugh after laugh, prayer after prayer – as a family of six. I missed him trying to win me over withRead more