The good aunt

Today marks the beginning of a new series on my blog. Each Monday during the next few months, I hope you’ll join me as we read the stories of women who don’t have children of their own and how they have created flourishing lives for themselves. (I’ll still post on Wednesdays with my usual fare about what makes life flourish: for me, that’s faith, music, running, art, gardening and books …)

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have children. That’s a story I’ll share with you along our journey, but not yet. Today, I’ll tell you a little bit about why I wanted to write this series and what you’ll find along the way.

But first, I want to wish my mother a happy birthday and a happy Mother’s Day. You may find it odd that I would do that here, in a post about good aunts, but if you knew my mother, you’d understand why it’s appropriate.  Continue reading

Branching out

In his preface to The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis writes of life – and its decisions – being like a tree:

We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision. Even on the biological level life is not like a river but a tree. It does not move towards unity but away from it and the creatures grow further apart as they increase in perfection. Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different not only from evil but from other good. (p. viii) Continue reading

A different kind of Christmas tree

Tis the season when our thoughts turn to Christmas trees and mistletoe and glittery ornaments and garlands and wreaths and shopping and baking and … this list could take up the whole page, but you get the idea.

Some of my neighbors already have their Christmas decorations up. I’m usually one who gets around to decorating the second, or sometimes third, week of December, probably because when I was growing up, we usually waited until after my brother’s mid-December birthday to buy a tree and put up decorations. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a shameless procrastinator.

Which camp are you in: the early decorators or the waiters? Whether you’ve had your tree up and decorated since before Thanksgiving or are just now starting to ponder whether to go with a real or fake tree this year, I bet you’ve got Christmas on your mind. And rightfully so, but I hope you’re focusing on the best part of Christmas: the gift of Jesus’ birth and life sacrificed for us.  Continue reading

Adopted into a great family tree

My parents celebrate their 50th anniversary later this week, but we celebrated the golden event with a party for extended family this past weekend. We had fun, and most of us ate too much barbecue and banana pudding.

Despite my parents’ request for “no gifts,” we all chipped in for one very special art piece to give them – a family tree with paper leaves signed by as many family members as we could track down:

The anniversary celebration – and the family tree gift – reminded me how blessed I am. You see, I’m adopted. So my family tree could have looked completely different.  Continue reading

The Hatfields and McCoys in me

Now before you start worrying – I’m not confessing to a violent murder (or pig theft) with this week’s title, but I am confessing to a flaw in my character: a stubborn unwillingness to let go of past wrongs. While I come by the stubbornness honestly (I think my folks could easily point out stubborn streaks in the family tree), I’m pretty much alone in my ability to hold a grudge – at least among my closest family members.

My struggle to forgive is not something I’m sure I want to air publicly, but Easter has convicted me to write about it anyway. Easter is that wonderful, joyous holy day of the year when we celebrate Christ’s victory over the grave and the sacrifice he made to save us all.

His death on that wooden cross wiped the slate clean for all of us. His resurrection gives us hope of our own salvation. We are a forgiven people of God.  Continue reading