Thursday, March 29, 2007

Recovering childhood

From an excellent article on the Christianity Today web site:

Another challenge to building a successful divorce recovery program lies in ministering to its youngest casualties. An estimated 32% of American youngsters live in single-parent or blended-family households.

"We aim to teach our children two things in our children's divorce recovery program: It's not your fault. And you're not alone," says Rev. Mark Skalberg, singles pastor at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colo. ( "Those things seem obvious to adults, but all children feel they're at fault, and that there's no one else like them."

Many churches that begin offering divorce recovery to adults quickly recognize the peripheral effects of the split on children. And it generally isn't long before they add a children's program.

Woodmen Valley's children's recovery program openly discusses divorce. But the church believes there's also value in simply offering a safe, quiet place for youngsters to get away from a sometimes volatile or stress-laden home environment. Games and craft projects that may appear inconsequential to outsiders can powerfully impact children, who relish the interaction with similarly situated peers in a calm and loving environment.

The baby dog

Even before our beloved Coal died so unexpectedly, I had started looking for a puppy of my own to add to our extended family. Now that Coal is gone, my little furry pup will be the only dog in the family, and he is much anticipated even though the search for just the right breeder is still ongoing. I told my parents that I joked with my single friends about registering at Petsmart and holding a puppy shower for the expected arrival. I thought they'd laugh at my silliness, but as it turns out, they're excited about getting a granddog. (Will that make the pup a nephdog to my brothers??) I'm excited too for obvious reasons. Who wouldn't be excited about a cute, cuddly burglar alarm? Plus now I can send out Christmas cards with my dog's picture every year, getting back at all those doting parents who send me pictures of their children (some of whom I've never met) when I am most interested in seeing the bright and smiling faces of my dear friends, not their offspring be they ever so dear. (Kudos, by the way, to my closest friends--whose children I am actually very fond of seeing--whose Christmas pictures featured the entire family, confirming my good sense in having them as my closest friends.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Let's grow old apart

Click here for a review of a new book about one woman's gray divorce and how God helped her through it.

I did, I did, I do

I ran across this rather interesting opinion piece from a religion editor. He makes some good points. Why all the fuss over Guiliani's divorces if Newt's are just fine and if no one batted an eye at the Gipper's? And what exactly about being a war hero exempts one from having to live morally in the rest of one's life? The article quotes the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land as saying, of John McCain, "When you’re a war hero, you have less to prove on the character front." That's a pretty atrocious statement. I like a man in uniform as much, or more, than the next girl, but a real hero is composed of more than guts and glory.

And for the record, I'd like to say that I have never been married to any of the current Republican presidential candidates. Wow, eight wives between just three of them? And we're worried about the possibility of a Morman president?

The bells are ringing

Hearty congratulations to friend of the blog, Jen Abbas, who got engaged in Paris this week! How cool is that? Pop in to Jen's blog and leave her a note of congratulations. A toast: to Jen and Niels!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The glory of His character

So, I'm in the thick of writing the book. I so, so appreciate all the prayers--they're working and the writing is coming along nicely.

The book I'm writing is as much about the character of God as it is about the effects of divorce on our lives. I can't wait to share with you all the awesome things I'm studying and learning about our wonderful, magnificent God.

This last week in church, my pastor reminded us of the importance of God's character. He's preaching through the book of Exodus right now, and we just covered the really cool text where God puts Moses in the cleft of the rock and parades His glory before the leader of His people. (I did a fun craft with the kids, involving a dixie cup, a paper cut-out of Moses, and a tracing of their hands that was taped to the side of the cup where it could flip down to cover Moses in the cup.) This passage is the source of the famous hymn Rock of Ages:
Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
And another hymn, which reads in part:
He hideth my soul in the cleft of a rock
That shadows a dry thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of His love
And covers me there with His hand
God hides Moses in this small chasm and then walks past him, glory ablaze. Moses can't see God's glory, even from this protected spot, and live, so God waits until only His back is visible, bits of glory trailing behind Him, before lifting His hand and letting Moses see Him. As my pastor pointed out, Moses then gives us an accurate portrait of God, thereby putting to rest all of the conjecture about the long white beard and whether He's white or black or brown or red, right? Wrong.

Having seen a glimpse of the Almighty's glory, enough to make his face shine like a beacon, Moses sees most fit to tell us what God said about Himself.

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

And as much as we might want to know about the long white beard, isn't it better to know about the long-suffering grace and mercy of our God, about His justice, and--as we discover in Christ--the perfect balance of these two elemental parts of His nature in the great scope of redemption? That character, that glorious and dreadful character, is our hope and joy. Because God is compassionate, He cares about our hurts. Because He is gracious, He is patient with our failings. Because He is slow to anger, we are not destroyed. He is loving and faithful and forgiving. But He is also just. He doesn't leave our hurts unpunished--neither the hurts we experience, nor the hurts we inflict. As He assured Israel, vengeance is His, and in His wisdom and mercy, He has laid all our sins on the perfect Christ, Jesus our Savior, who willingly took our punishment.

As Philip Bliss penned, "Hallelujah! What a savior!"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Coal, 1996-2007, R.I.P.

You were the dog we always dreamed of. We'll miss you, buddy.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Trouble in Gotham

From the New York Times:

Andrew Giuliani has been at his father’s side in campaign commercials and inaugurations since he was a toddler, famously bounding across the stage in a rambunctious manner and mimicking his father’s rhetorical flourishes during Mr. Giuliani’s 1994 mayoral inauguration. But Mr. Giuliani’s relationship with Andrew has grown strained and distant since his very public and bitter divorce from Andrew’s mother, Donna Hanover, and his marriage to Judith Nathan, according to Andrew and others familiar with the relationship.