life, the friends

Big Love & Fruit that Lasts

I’ve been teaching the book of John to a group of third and fourth graders every Monday night since September.  Half the class is nice and quiet – just the way I like it – and the other half is rowdy.  Last night they were extra rowdy – pouts, tears, an injury, two kids under the table – all in the first 15 minutes.

We were in chapter 15 and I was explaining what Jesus meant by, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”  I told them the Holy Spirit is like the sap that flows from the vine out to the tip of the branches to produce fruit.  As long as we stay attached to Jesus, the Holy Spirit will flow through us, producing good and exciting things.

Things that last.

Then we got to the part where Jesus told His disciples – and us – to love the way He loves.

And that brought us to verse 13.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

I wanted to illustrate what that looks like in everyday life.

So I told them about Tuscany. I told them that the hub and I have been saving money to take a trip there as soon as he retires. We want to see the countryside and eat good food and take a cooking class.

I also told them that we have spent A LOT of money on emergency vet bills in the last few years.  (Over $40,000 the hub tells me but I didn’t tell the youngsters that.)

“And now today,” I said, “the beagle we adopted 4 weeks ago had surgery. And it’s expensive. So we’ll take more money out of our Tuscany fund to pay for it.

And we probably won’t get to go on our trip.

But that’s okay.

Because greater love has no one than this: to lay down your Tuscany for your beagle.”

The rowdy ones, who didn’t appear to be listening, their interest quickened by the example, gave a hearty laugh.

P.S. The hospital just called. Dixie did very well overnight.  She’s comfortable, bright, alert, responsive and she’s coming home this evening.  I’ll keep you posted.




I have a tough assignment on Monday nights this year. I am teaching a fairly large class of 3rd and 4th graders, some of whom are challenging.

Very challenging.

And exhausting.

I was tired going in last night, but I rallied.

Midway through the evening a boy approached me.

“Did you give the Bible Lesson last week?,” he asked.

“Yes, I did,” I replied.

“Well I just want to thank you. It really spoke to me. I had a really weird week and it spoke to me.”

Bless his heart.

Bless his studious little heart.

Sweet moments like that make the challenges worth it.

Last night we talked about redemption.

Today, as I began to prepare next week’s lesson, I boiled it down.


Interesting stuff in this new lesson. I’ll probably have something to say about it tomorrow.

But for now, there are towels that need folding.

Happy Tuesday night. (This is Us is on in the U.S.)






Nothing Says Love Like Diabetes and Tooth Decay

minimalist cookie

Sugar.  The kids at BSF loaded up on it last night.  It was our last class before Christmas break and – in violation of the guidelines – a couple of the kids brought treats to share.

Under the table.


We were in a circle of chairs and in the center was a small table. One kid opened 2 boxes of Starburst candy canes and placed them under the table. Another brought a package of cookies and placed it under the table.  Candy canes and oreos slid back and forth under the table and across the floor from student to student.

“Sugar is the devil,” I kinda’ wanted to say.

But who wants to be the killjoy?

The church I used to attend throws a party for underprivileged children at every holiday.  And at every party they show God’s love by loading the kids up with sugar.  Trunk loads of sugar at Halloween, plates piled high with sugar cookies and candy at Christmas. Baskets brimming with chocolate bunnies and jellybeans at Easter.

They show God’s love by putting the children who are the least likely to be able to afford diabetic care at risk for diabetes; they put the children who are least likely to be able to afford dental care at risk for tooth decay.

I shake my head and suggest we find healthier ways to show God’s love.

“Oh just let the kids have fun,” I’m told.

Yes, I don’t bother to say, let’s let them have fun – let’s play FUN exercise-getting games with them, let’s give them fun GIFTS, and a few cookies.

Let’s stop reaching out to children with cheap and easy.

Because God isn’t.


Gotta’ Love ‘Em

Directing a children’s concert is no job for a perfectionist.  There is always at least one who is right up front picking his nose or twirling her skirt totally lost in her own little twirling world oblivious to the audience and singing children in front of and around her.


This is definitely not a share-worthy picture, but it is one of the last on my camera roll.  I snapped it because it captures what I love about watching children’s concerts:  See the boy in the front row turned away from the audience with his sheet music over his face?  He was like that for the entire concert.

I have no idea what he looks like.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.