November 2018

November 2018

I knew the day would eventually come. I tried my best to not dwell on it, as it was just too painful, too final. Thursday, October 11, that dreaded day came. There was no more denying it or refusing to think about it.

October 2018

October 2018

While sitting at my desk in the church office, I received a phonecall from Nancy. She asked, “Did you see Cindy’s post on Facebook?” (Cindy is Nancy’s best friend from high school.) I told her I had not and immediately went to Cindy’s page to find what Nancy found so interesting. Here is what Cindy posted…

September 2018

September 2018

Today one does not need a textbook to learn. You can simply go to your computer and find your way to YouTube, and there you will find how to do any number of things. Someone, somewhere has created a video to show you how to do what you’re about to attempt; whether it’s a repair for your home or your car, how to put on makeup, learning self-defense or making dinner. All you need to do is look it up on the world’s most popular video site, and soon you’ll be an expert yourself—even if it’s expertise on the best way to massage your pet opossum (because, apparently, opossums need massages!).

August 2018

August 2018

For twelve years, we passed it almost weekly. Often, I would say we need to stop and try this place out. We admired the outside and often commented on the beautiful hanging baskets filled with pretty pink petunias. But for a variety of reasons, we just drove by and wondered and admired from afar.

July 2018

July 2018

These past few weeks, I have not had a smile on my face or heart. In fact, my heart is broken over the desperate cries of precious little ones as they were ripped out of the arms of their migrant parents. The anguish and desperation in their voices has reduced me to tears. This IS NOT the American way, or at least I pray it IS NOT the American way.

June 2018

June 2018

Grief is perhaps the greatest teacher known to humankind. It comes at a very steep price. Grief teaches us perspective, patience, love like never before, kindness, tolerance, acceptance, appreciation for the present moment, and so much more. Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is neither a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.

May 2018

May 2018

Do you have a nickname? When I was growing up, I had two nicknames. The first was Rara. I am not sure where it came from. Maybe my older brother couldn’t say Russel, and as he tried to pronounce my name, it came out “Rara.” I utilized that nickname with all the little children Nancy babysat over the years. Many of those children are now adults and still call me “Rara.”

April 2018

April 2018

The most beautiful sight to see is when the shepherd approaches his flock in the morning and calls out to them, “Sheep, sheep, sheep!” The first to run to him are the bummer lambs, because they know his voice. It’s not that they are more loved; it’s just that they believe it. I am so grateful that Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd. I am a bummer lamb. Chances are you are too. 

March 2018

March 2018

As I sit here at my computer keyboard, it is the day before my 64th birthday. Wow! How is that even possible? Depending upon which shoes you are in, 64 is a youngster and for others, well, you are seen as “old as dirt.”

February 2018

February 2018

My running route has turned into somewhat of an obstacle course with discarded Christmas trees strewn on the sidewalks. As I was running, I thought, only a month ago, these trees held special meaning and had a prominent place in the warmth and love of homes. And only a few weeks later, they are thrown to the curbside. The once beautiful, green branches decorated with lights and ornaments are now a tarnished brown, waiting to be burned or shredded into mulch.

January 2018

January 2018

The end of one year and the beginning of another is usually a time to look back to what has been and to look forward to what can be. To look back includes both the positive, as well as the negative, things. To look forward to what can be or should be possible is also an important exercise. As we stand at the threshold of a brand new year, it might help us explore the answer to the above exercise by reexamining one of the classic Peanuts cartoon strips.

December 2017

December 2017

Brian Abel Ragan’s father told him the same story every year, growing up, about a little boy so poor he had nothing but one toy: a little beat-up plastic car with two wheels and a broken windshield.

November 2017

November 2017

As I walked Lee Ann and Victoria out to their car, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair. She was dressed in her pajamas and was accompanied by a hospital employee. The woman had no bag of belongings, just the pajamas on her back. They were both perusing the cars as they pulled up to the hospital. I heard the employee ask the woman as a vehicle approached, “Is that your ride?” The woman stretched her neck looking to see if that was the person to deliver her from the hospital. It was not. I silently prayed for her.

October 2017

October 2017

I was invited to join their conversation when Chris, the rehab therapist, mentioned she was from Sewickley. As we engaged in conversation, she seemed to know about me and the Sewickley United Methodist Church. As I sat at the kitchen table, she looked at me and said, “I want to thank you and your church for praying for me and my family. I am Katie Parish’s mother.”

September 2017

September 2017

Why do so many hate? Why do so many say to some of God’s children, as I said to that cute little bunny: “Don’t you dare go into the church. You don’t belong there. You will just cause havoc and make the people upset.”

August 2017

August 2017

As I sat there listening to the funeral liturgy, a 27-page booklet (but who was counting), I could not help but think how my life would be different if my father had been an active church member, and we were reared in the Ukrainian Orthodox tradition.

July 2017

July 2017

For the past several weeks, I have been car shopping. I really do not like that process. I went to three different car dealers, and after doing my due diligence, I purchased a vehicle. And that is when it happened.

June 2017

June 2017

I recently read of a rather strange proposal: Jake Hess said his wife laughed at him the first time he asked her to marry him. She explained how he asked her, “Would you like to be buried with my people?”

May 2017

May 2017

I stood in the doorway as he walked down the steps with his head hung low. As he walked down the sidewalk I heard him begin to sob, and between sobs, I could hear him cry, “I just want to go home! I just want to go home, and no one will help me.”

April 2017

April 2017

John’s story of the first Easter is vivid, rich, and full of fascinating details. In John, the little things, the details, are often pregnant with meaning. There is an interesting detail in John’s Easter account—everyone was busy running.