Sunday, October 27, 2013

Did ya hear the news?

Did ya hear the news?

(You know it has to be big for me to postpone my “Halloween Memories” blog post.)

The news … Pepperdine University has named a new chaplain, and her name is Sara Barton!

Pepperdine, a Church-of-Christ-affiliated school, has given a post of spiritual leadership to a woman.  How awesome is that?

After hearing about this, I went online to learn more about the chaplain’s office at Pepperdine.  I clicked on the staff link, and every single person on the page was a woman.  3 for 3.  100%.  I felt like Rip Van Winkle, coming awake after a 20-year nap.  Where have I been?  How did this happen?  A place of spiritual leadership that is completely staffed by women?  How awesome is that?

This feels like a step in the right direction … a more progressive and spiritually healthy path … becoming more and more a church where both men and women have a voice.

Now I’ve never been to Pepperdine*, but I do hope to get out there one day.  I don’t know exactly what things look like in Malibu, CA, but I do have an image forming in my mind.  I picture a young guy, a student, sitting in a packed auditorium.  There’s a faint sound of ocean waves crashing in the distance.  This young man closes his eyes for a moment and hears the voice of a woman speaking the words of Christ into his life.  It’s a moment that changes him forever.

How awesome is that?


Sara’s previous guest-post on my blog can be found here:


* Tony Kornheiser, an ESPN and DC-area sports-talk guy, calls Pepperdine the most beautiful college campus in America.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A good neighbor

Have you ever had a good neighbor?

We had a very good neighbor in Connecticut named Sunny.

Sunny lived across the street from us with her dachshund Sparky, and Monique, a wily old cat.

We’d see Sunny and Sparky outside all the time, going for walks or working in their yard.  Sparky was a handsome little guy, sleek and a bit longer than a football.  It’s hard to say that Sparky went for walks.  It would probably be more accurate to say he went for waddles.  And he was as happy and spirited as the day is long.

Our kids loved Miss Sunny and Sparky and, of course, Monique.  Kate enjoyed her “first job”—pet sitting for Sunny—and there was always a special bond between our neighbor and our little girl.  We were reminded of this each year during SPECIAL PERSONS D­­­­AY at Wolcott Elementary School.  (SPECIAL PERSONS DAY, by the way, was code for Grandparents Day.)  Since our children didn’t have any grandparents nearby, Kate immediately drafted Miss Sunny as her SPECIAL PERSON (while Cal got stuck with me).

Thinking about Kate tromping through the school hallways with Sunny … well, that memory still holds a warm place in my heart.  You couldn’t tell they weren’t related.  They looked just like family.

And as for Sunny … well, she will forever be a SPECIAL PERSON to all of us.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A ball of worry

What does a furloughed federal employee do on the first day of a government shutdown?  Well, he writes a blog post, of course.


My wife was talking to a friend awhile back.  It was a friend she sees somewhat infrequently, and the friend said, “Cheryl, as I recall, you tend to run a little anxious.”

She got that right.  Cheryl and I both run a little anxious.

It reminded me of an old friend I talked to awhile back.  He told me that he felt his anxiety actually helped him do his job.  Because he tended to get anxious and stressed, he could anticipate problems before they came up.  His anxiety was good for business, but bad for him.


I have this theory now, based on my 4+ decades as a worrier.  My theory is … that each one of us carries a worry ball.  Strangely enough, I picture mine as a glowing yellow bowling ball that becomes bigger or smaller—depending on my life circumstances. 

And, with this ball in my hands, I can pray and read the Bible and seek out a little bit of counseling.  These things help, making the ball feel smaller—even marble-sized at times—but the dang thing rarely goes away.  Only, every once in a while, do I set the ball down … like on a day when I’m sitting on the beach with my toes in the warm sand and waiting for someone to bring me a sandwich.  For a few minutes the ball disappears, and I wish I could stay right there forever.

So about this government shutdown?  Well, as usual, I’m worried.  But the ball feels manageable.  Like a 14-pounder with comfortable finger and thumb holes.  I think I can carry it for a little while longer.


Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5