Showing posts from July, 2013

On Trial, Again

(Previously published at and The Leah Messenger 2010) I thought I'd share an article from my homeschool days since this fall ends my years of homeschooling. An experience I will miss. Some days I’d like to disappear. The conversation twists into one of those uncomfortable, tongue-tied moments—the perfect time to test time-warp travel. And I’m sure my tongue knots easier than most. Yesterday was one of those tongue-tied-get-me-outta-here days. Sunlight skipped in and out of clouds; every few minutes, I’d throw on my sweater only to yank it off again. The unique scent of hot turf, sweaty boys, and garbage trucks, rose up from the soccer field—worse than rotten broccoli, the potpourri of sports. But my son’s soccer game was exciting and I could ignore the smells tickling my nose, at least until half time, when I’d join the other soccer moms in complaining. “Ooh, that smell is unbearable,” I said to the moms next to me on the bench, covering my nose with the ba

What's Your Name?

Something I never talk about, but a slight annoyance I have to deal with every day: my name. Okay, I know there are a lot more important issues to deal with, but sometimes you got to vent about the insignificant matters in life like burnt toast and bad hair days.   I don’t hate my name…if it’s said right. That’s the problem: nine times out of ten, I get called what someone thinks is my name. Frances is the name on my birth certificate, which is fine. I can’t blame my parents. My mom is a wonderful person who deserves to have her child named after her. But I’ve always been called Francie. The nickname came from A Tree Goes in Brooklyn , a favorite novel of theirs that year. If they read the Bible back then, I could be Sarah or Rachel, nice easy names .   Unless I spell it out and even if I do, people say Francine. Do they think I forgot to write or pronounce the n? It’s not there. So I’m called Franny or Francine more often than not. I don’t even bother correcti

Joy Happens

 I am older today, and hopefully wiser. I’ve always liked having a birthday two days before the Fourth of July. As a kid, I would pretend all the fireworks were for me. Yes, the entire country wanted to celebrate my birthday. I’m just soooooo famous. I imagined having a first kiss under the night sky as it exploded with color. Ahhh, and who doesn’t like the smell of burnt firecrackers and the sizzle of sparklers? All for me.   But the truth is—and here is where the wiser part fits in—joy won’t happen if all I live for is serving me. I spent enough years trying to wiggle my way into the mouse size tunnel of perfectionism, where all the perfectly happy people hide. Even if I could reach such a place, it would be boring. A place where perfect people spend all their time staying perfect.    Joy happens when we give our lives to God and seek His will. Even the smallest gesture of kindness to our fellow imperfect neighbors adds a notch to our joy line. The closer I foll